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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/256

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The inoculation was first to be made on volunteers among the physicians on probation at Netley; then on volunteers among the young officers of the army on the eve of their departure for the tropics; and then, with the approval of the military authorities, on volunteers among private soldiers. At the end of 1895, during my visit to England, I obtained from Sir William Mackinnon, then Director-General of the Army Medical Department, permission for Professor Wright to start the work upon the plan above detailed; and the first inoculations, in the way described above, were done in the middle of 1896. Soon after that, Pfeiffer and Kolle, recognizing the same similarity between the cholera and typhoid microbes, and pointing out that the results obtained by us in India were likely to be repeated when applying the method to typhoid, proposed and started a similar series of inoculations.

When the inoculation against plague was begun, and observation showed that dead vaccines alone were apparently sufficient to produce satisfactory results, a second inoculation with living virus appeared less urgently necessary; and as the effect of such an inoculation, which Professor Wright very courageously tried first on himself, seemed troublesome, it was decided to do for the time being the second inoculation also with the carbolized virus. Similarly, the plan which was adopted for the plague inoculation, of cultivating the vaccine in a liquid, instead of a solid medium, and of using cultures of several weeks' duration, has been subsequently adopted in the typhoid inoculation also.

Many thousands of British soldiers and civilians have already undergone the inoculation in question. The latter was done partly with vaccines cultivated on a solid medium, according to the older plan, and partly with vaccines prepared according to the plague inoculation method. The results so far observed are encouraging, and, I hope, will shortly be improved considerably. At the last Harveian dinner in London, Surgeon-General Jameson, Director-General of the Army Medical Department, summarized the results of the observations in India, where, among several thousands of young soldiers, the most prone to the disease, the incidence of typhoid since their inoculation was 0.7 per mille, while among the older, more resistant, not inoculated soldiers, the incidence was during the same period just double that. A large proportion of the force now on service in the South African campaign have been inoculated, some before embarking and others on their way out.


Such is the position of preventive inoculation, as applied, so far, to human communities. The very success of these operations is now apt to create some sort of feigned or earnest alarm, and one meets at present with the question, What is going to happen to our poor