Measles, mumps, and rubella are viral diseases that can be life-threatening in extreme cases. These three diseases are all very contagious and mostly affect infants, children and young adults. The measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine) is one vaccine that protects against all three…

Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are very serious bacterial diseases. While diphtheria and pertussis spread from person to person, tetanus enters the body through broken skin. Before the DTaP vaccine became available to the public, roughly 200,000 people contracted diphtheria and tetanus, and…

As mentioned earlier, there are five main types of vaccines: attenuated (live) vaccines, inactivated vaccines, toxoid vaccines, subunit vaccines, and conjugate vaccines. The first vaccines for humans against viruses used weakened or attenuated viruses to generate immunity without causing serious…

Philadelphia saw a ruinous outbreak of yellow fever after a 31-year absence in 1793. New York physician noted that the disease was especially rampant among those who lived close to ships. In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered how to use the material of cowpox pustules as immunization against…

In 1545, a smallpox epidemic hit India, presumably introduced by Portuguese colonizers, and killed 8,000 children in Goa. Paris was affected by a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic in 1578.  In the 16th and 17th century, smallpox was imported to North America by European colonizers. Smallpox…

French researcher Albert Calmette and veterinarian Jean-Marie Camille Guérin accomplished to attenuate the bacterium causing tuberculosis. After extensive mosquito control, North America saw its last yellow fever in 1905 in New Orleans. In 1906, the bacteria responsible for whooping cough were…

While Edward Jenner is commonly considered the inventor of the first vaccine – he used material from cowpox pustules as an immunization for smallpox – the vaccine history actually goes back much farther. In fact, the history of vaccinations begins with the discovery of infectious diseases….