The History and First
Vaccination of Smallpox
-By Amber Braaten

        Although Edward Jenner is known as the man who devoted his life to spreading the smallpox vaccination, some believe that he was also the first to actually discover the vacine.  In actuality a man by the name of Benjamin Jesty discovered the procedure now known as vaccination.  In 1774, Jesty found that the dairymaids on his farm had comtracted the disease called cowpox.  After the disease ran its course, he observed that the cows became immume to cowpox and sma;lllpox.  Jesty then thought that if he could somehow infect his family with the cowpox virus that they too would be immune to smallpox.  Soon after a massive outbreak of smallpox occured in the area and Jesty "took the pus from the udder of a cow and by scratching the skin of his wife's arm, he succesfully inserted the infected pus.  He then repeatedd the same process with the rest of his family.  Just like the dairymaids, the disease ran its course and the family had completely recovered.  This is where the word "vaccination" derived from because "vacca is Latin for cow."  Benjamine Jesty secretly vaccinated several other people over the course of his life, but because of the nature of how he found the vaccination he was never acknowledged for his findings.

The tomb stone of Benjimine Jesty

More Historical Findings.....

"Smallpox is caused by a parasitic virus called variola  It is classified as parasitic disease because the virus is destructive to its host (the person who catches it).  Smallpox is also considered a "crowd disease" because it only speads between humans, and requires a large densely populated community in order fo it to survive."  For this reason, the smallpox virus has infected several community's in the past, the Sto:lo Aboriginal community being one of them.  In 1782 a Euroamerican started the deadly disease throughout several communities which soon made its way to the Sto:lo people.  The virus had stuck the community at a time when food needed to be collected and stored for the winter, but sixty-two percent of the population became infected and died.  Although several people had survived, pneumonia and other sicknesses developed.  Therefore the Sto:lo people were barely able to plant, catch, or harvest food.  This all resulted in malnutrition and starvation.
The Sto:lo community also beleive that their traditional madical practices would help the ill, when in fact it only helped the spreading of the disease.  "For example, members of the community would gather around the sick to give spiritual support, and would give cold morning baths which would sometimes send the suffering into a state of shock, sometimes killing them."  Now there are several places that hold constant reminders of how smallpox took the lives of so many.  One of those places being named "Sxwoxwiymelh" meaning "a lot of people died at once," and "Smimstiyexwala" which means, "people container because it was near a mass burial site."

Small Pox