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THE HISTORY OF VACCINATION

Vaccination has been one of the most important interventions in disease protection that has ever been developed for both humans and animals.

Smallpox is a well known example of the close relationship between human and animal vaccines and diseases. The first vaccine to protect humans against smallpox was derived from a cow with cowpox. In the 20th century, smallpox was responsible for 300 to 500 million deaths. Thanks to a widespread vaccination program smallpox has now been eradicated.

In veterinary medicine, vaccination has also proven to be successful for animal health; diseases such as canine parvovirus, canine distemper and feline panleukopenia have been greatly reduced – in some places nearly eliminated – by vaccination.

Routine vaccination programs for pets are now standard in most developed countries and as a consequence the diseases are seen less and less frequently. Although this is good news it can create a dilemma since if pet owners no longer see and fear the diseases they may neglect to get their pet vaccinated meaning vaccination coverage can fall in some areas. With communication and education veterinarians can help to keep animals vaccinated and protect the precious bonds with their owners.

Click on the links below to find out interesting websites and articles about the history of vaccination:

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