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The obsolete process of inoculating a susceptible person with material from a vesicle of a patient with smallpox.
Synonym(s): variolization
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Some accounts from the eighteenth century report that material used in variolation (often scab material) was stored for [less than or equal to] 8 years before successful use (34).
Montagu was celebrated for introducing variolation (inoculation) from Turkey where it had been used, amongst other purposes, to protect the faces of women in the harem.
In the eighteenth century, Europeans adopted from the Near East and Africa a crude, often fatal predecessor to vaccination called variolation. But it was not until the nineteenth century that scholars such John Snow, Louis Pasteur, and Robert Koch established the precepts of epidemiology, vaccinology, and germ theory--and that is where the scientific understanding begins.
The Glynns present a fascinating account of the introduction to Europe of the Eastern practice of inoculation (or variolation) in which individuals were "inoculated" with a mild case of smallpox to make them immune from a future more serious infection.
Variolation, the practice of inoculating healthy people with virus-laden pus from pocks of individuals with smallpox, was developed in the 10th century in Asia.
Because it involved variola virus, this method became known as "variolation" and many were able to develop immunity to smallpox with this method.
On a minor note, on page 16 the author mistakes variolation, or inoculation, for vaccination in the case of Isaac Cowie during the 1869-70 smallpox epidemic.
A typical experience of variolation was that of future president John Adams, who in 1764, after a series of epidemics struck Boston, decided to undergo the medical procedure rather than risk the natural version of the infection.
Thus it was perfectly plausible around 1800 to represent smallpox vaccination as quackish balderdash, as when, in `The Cow-Pock', Gillray spoofed Jennerian variolation.
Among his friends was none other than Benjamin Franklin, who was very much impressed with the principle of smallpox inoculation, based on the ancient Oriental practice of variolation. Heberden collaborated with Franklin in the preparation of a written pamphlet on the success of variolation, which contained instructions on how to perform the procedure.