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smallpox vaccine

By CANO Mathéo, HUREAU Ethan & SANTANA Théo

1/ Against which disease does it give protection?

3/How was the vaccine discovered and by whom?

4/ What is the vaccine made of?

6/ What recommendations today worldwide?

2/ Epidemics of the disease before the vaccine ?

5/ State of the disease worldwide today?

Against which disease does it gives protection?


  • An infectious disease of viral origin, highly contagious and epidemic, caused by a poxvirus ;
  • Characterised by a sort of 'pustule spotting' ;
  • Until the 18th century, smallpox was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths per year only in Europe ;
  • Symptons : fatigue, exanthema, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, phlyctenes, pustules, fever and scarring.

Smallpox vaccine

Young boy with smallpox and a typical vesiculopustular rash on the face.

Epidemics of the disease before the vaccine?


  • The first known descriptions of smallpox date back to the 4th century AD in China and the 10th century in southwest Asia.
  • By the end of the 18th century in Europe, about 400,000 people were dying of smallpox each year.


Mortality rate above

Smallpox epidemics


of people contracted smallpox

Imported to the West in 16th century


how was the vaccine discovered and by whom?

Edward Jenner and the smallpox vaccine


  • On May 1796, Jenner inoculated an 8-year-old boy with a pustule taken from a farm girl infected by milking cows suffering from cowpox.
  • A pustule then appeared on the boy, which healed within 10 days.
  • After 1 year, Jenner inoculated the boy with smallpox. The disease did not appear, so the child was immuned.


What is the vaccine made of?

  • The vaccine is made of a virus called vaccinia ;
  • The smallpox vaccine contains the "live" vaccinia virus.

Composition of the Smallpox vaccine

Dose of Smallpox vaccine

State of this disease worldwide today?


  • Smallpox has been eradicated ;
  • The last known case in the world was in 1977 ;
  • Smallpox vaccination was stopped worldwide in 1980 thanks to a World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign ;
  • Nowadays, only samples of this virus are kept for research purposes by two WHO-approved laboratories to avoid bioterrorism risks: one in the USA and one in Russia.

Smallpox, where are you?


What recommendations today worldwide?

Recommendations... or not?

  • No recommendations today worldwide ;
  • Reserves of smallpox vaccine doses in the case of a new epidemic ;
  • Vaccination against smallpox is recommended only for those at high risk.








Matheo's SVT lesson from last year