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Inoculation

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The first reliable account of inoculation is found in the eighteenth‐century reports by British doctors concerning the Indian treatment of smallpox. In the method, believed to have been discovered sometime before AD 1000 in India (Henderson and Moss 1999), one deliberately inoculated, either into the skin or by nasal insufflation, scabs, or pustular material from lesions of patients. This resulted in an infection that was usually less severe than an infection acquired naturally. From India, the practice spread to China, western Asia, and Africa and finally, in the early eighteenth century, to Europe and North America.

It appears that the idea of inoculation derived from both agada‐tantra, one of the eight branches of traditional Āyurveda (Indian medicine) that deals with poisons and toxins in small dosages, and from the application of specific concoctions to punctures in the skin for treatment of certain skin diseases (Suśruta Samhitā in Cikitsāsthāna 9.10). The Caraka Samhitāspeaks...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8655
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References

  • Henderson, D. A. and B. Moss. Smallpox and Vaccinia. Vaccines. Ed. S. A. Plotkin and W. A. Orenstein. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company, 1999.

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  • Sharma, Priyavrat. Caraka‐Samhitā. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1981–1985.

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  • ‐‐‐. Suśruta Samhitā. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Visvabharati, 1999–2001.

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© 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York

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Kak, S. (2008). Inoculation. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8655

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