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Encyclopedia > Variolation

Obsolete: inoculation against smallpox using material from a vesicle or lesion of a person with smallpox. Inoculation was a method of minimising the harm done by infection with smallpox. ... Smallpox (also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera) is a highly contagious disease unique to humans. ... In cell biology, a vesicle is a relatively small and enclosed compartment, separated from the cytosol by at least one lipid bilayer. ... A lesion is a non-specific term referring to abnormal tissue in the body. ...


Originally practiced widely in China and the Middle-East, from where Lady Mary Wortley Montague (1689-1782) brought it back to England in 1721.


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Smallpox (1075 words)
This practice, called variolation, induced an active case in the recipient, but usually the case was less severe than if the disease had been contracted in the normal way (by inhalation as it turned out).
Variolation was introduced into England and the American colonies early in the 18th century.
The variolated person often became quite ill and the mortality rate, although only a fraction of that for people who contracted the disease in the normal way, was nonetheless appreciable.
Smallpox: The Triumph over the Minister of Death (5974 words)
In India, variolation took several forms, the most common of which was the application of scabs or pus from a person with smallpox to the intact or scarified skin of a healthy person (30).
She called it "ingrafting"; it was a procedure done by old women, who made four or five scratches or a slight puncture on the arm and introduced material taken from smallpox pustules from patients who had mild cases of the disease (19).
Two to three percent of variolated persons died of smallpox; became the source of a new epidemic; or developed other illnesses from the lymph of the donor, such as tuberculosis or syphilis (39).
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