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Editor,—I read the annotation ‘Jenner, romanticism, and research’ and I note that Chiswick gives all the credit of this immunisation discovery to Jenner.1 Yet Reeves and Todd in their book Lecture Notes on Immunologydescribe how a kind of smallpox immunisation was used in the Ottoman Empire around 1700, much earlier than Jenner’s use of cowpox inoculation in 1796. Apparently, Mary Pierrepont Montagu wrote of her observations from Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1717 and subsequently introduced the method into England. I am writing this historical note to indicate that Jenner’s important discovery was related to Mary Pierrepont-Montagu’s letters.
Professor Chiswick comments:
Quite right. Mary Pierrepont-Montagu introduced into England from the Ottoman Empire the practice of inoculating individuals with material obtained from smallpox crusts (variolation).
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