Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

Get access

(870 words)

1. Description

In 1979, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated; in the early modern period, however, it was a severe, highly contagious viral infection with a mortality rate of around 20%. It occupied a special place among early modern epidemics: its epidemic presence over centuries led to high morbidity and mortality, but towards 1800 it could be controlled by medical intervention: immunization by vaccination.

In the early modern period, smallpox was di…

Cite this page
Leven, Karl-Heinz, “Smallpox”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 26 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025634>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

▲   Back to top   ▲