Inoculation Proves its Worth; Mozart Gets Smallpox as Dad Says No

1717. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, feminist wife of Britain's ambassador to Ottoman Empire, is stunned by the Turks' means of conferring immunity against smallpox, inoculation/variolation with smallpox. Having been earlier ravaged by the disease herself, Lady Mary is passionate about this discovery and fights to get the practice adopted in England. 1767. Mozart gets smallpox. By…

Lady Montagu, 18th Century British Aristocrat, Feminist, Smallpox Fighter and Public Health Heroine

The year is 1718. Smallpox inoculation is unknown in Western cultures, and vaccine is still decades in the future. Commoners and kings are powerless against the onslaught of the speckled monster. How did one intrepid British aristocrat discover a practice in a far-off land, become an immunization pioneer and a heroine in the annals of…

Beautiful and loved Queen Mary II died of smallpox at age 32.

SMALLPOX SHUFFLES DYNASTIES

SMALLPOX SHUFFLING DYNASTIES "It shuffled the leadership of royal houses like a handful of playing cards.” So says writer Maryn McKenna of smallpox. (See my previous post.) Her National Geographic article revealed that DNA from a young Lithuanian girl's mummy is rewriting smallpox history. And the disease shuffling dynasties? Let's take a look. A Roll Call of Royal…