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Dr. Jenner and the speckled monster : the search for the smallpox vaccine [book club kit]
2002
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Gr 5-9-This is a fascinating, detailed history of the smallpox virus, beginning with its probable origins in a farm animal in Asia or the Middle East approximately 8000 years ago, continuing with its spread to Europe via trade routes, to the New World with the Spanish explorers, and concluding with the current concern that remaining stocks of variola may fall into the hands of terrorists intent on waging germ warfare. Intertwined with the disease's history is the biography of Edward Jenner, the 18th-century English surgeon whose observation that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox led him to conduct experiments that resulted in the perfection of the smallpox vaccination. Jenner is portrayed as a dedicated doctor devoted to what he considered a sacred mission, that of completely annihilating the "Speckled Monster" and demonstrating that science could ultimately triumph over disease. His dream appeared to have come true when the World Health Organization declared in 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated from Earth, but the continued existence in the U.S. and Russia of some 600 vials of frozen variola, originally slated to be destroyed by December 31, 1993, is at the center of an ongoing controversy among scientists, governments, and the military. Black-and-white photos appear throughout. This title updates James Cross Giblin's When Plague Strikes: The Black Death, Smallpox, AIDS (HarperCollins, 1995).-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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