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Smallpox in Boston a hundred years ago

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Immunisation has always had its opponents and professional reactions to them have not always been exemplary. The last epidemic of smallpox in Boston, Massachusetts began in 1901 and lasted for almost two years. A recent article (New England Journal of Medicine2001;344:375–9) has described some of the excesses of medical fervour displayed in an attempt to control it.  The epidemic began in May …

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