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, 13 (1), 69-73

A Brief History of Smallpox Eradication in Iran

  • PMID: 20039774

A Brief History of Smallpox Eradication in Iran

Mohammad Hossein Azizi. Arch Iran Med.


Smallpox, which currently is only of historical interest, was once one of the most terrible illnesses with high mortality and morbidity. In the late 18th century, the English physician and naturalist, Edward Jenner (1749 - 1823), discovered an efficient preventive technique against smallpox which he termed "vaccination". Afterwards, the practice of vaccination gradually became widespread when finally in 1979, the World Health Organization formally declared the global eradication of this fatal disease.Presented here is a brief account of smallpox eradication in Iran which started on a limited scale in the 19th century by the order of Abbas Mirza (1789 - 1833), the Crown Prince of Fath Ali Shah Qajar (reign from 1797 - 1834), and reinforced in 1848 by Mirza Taghi Khan Amir Kabir (1807 - 1852) the Prime Minster of Naser ad-Din Shah, and became more popular after the establishment of the Pasteur Institute in Tehran in 1921, where considerable doses of smallpox vaccine were produced. In addition, in subsequent years, a law that mandated public smallpox vaccination was passed by the Iranian parliament (Majles) in 1953 and eventually, the mass vaccination program led to the complete eradication of smallpox in Iran in 1978.

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