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Vaccination was first carried out by the English doctor Edward Jenner
(1749-1823), born in Gloucestershire. The picture shows him with
symbol of death, a cow and a syringe. Jenner had heard of a popular belief
in Gloucestershire that a person had accidentally contracted pustules by
milking a cow infected with cowpox (known in Latin as vaccinia, hence the
name for the treatment) would be immune from smallpox.
So, in 1796, he began to use the matter from cowpox pustules. At first
the discovery met with a barrage of opposition, but during the 19th century
the practice of vaccination spread all over the Europe. Vaccines are
produced by weakening viruses by various different means, including heat,
light and now ultra-violet rays.
Vaccines are now available to prevent not only smallpox but many other
diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, polio and whooping-cough.