Smallpox death rate in Britain 1838-1900

Although vaccination was discovered in England in 1796, the practice was not made compulsory until 1853 in England and Wales, and 1864 in Scotland. For this reason, the number of smallpox deaths per million people fluctuated from year to year, often doubling or tripling from one year to the next, before the death rate for both countries settled in the late 1960s. The Great Pandemic of the 1870s, which was the last major smallpox pandemic in Europe, caused the number of smallpox deaths to soar once more, peaking at over 1,000 deaths per million people in England and Wales in 1871, and at over 820 deaths per million people in Scotland in 1872. During this pandemic, mandatory vaccination became enforced, where parents who did not vaccinate their children within the first three years of life were penalized with fines or imprisonment, and this helped the smallpox death rate to remain low and plateau in the final two decades of the nineteenth century; an estimated 11,000 of these penalties were handed out during the 1880s, which included 115 prison sentences for failure to vaccinate children. Smallpox cases in Britain were rare throughout the early twentieth century; not counting a lab accident in 1978 that infected two people (one of whom died), natural smallpox cases were eradicated in Britain in 1934.

Number of smallpox deaths per million inhabitants in England, Wales and Scotland from 1838 to 1900

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Source

Release date

2018

Region

United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales)

Survey time period

1838 to 1899

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Statistics on "Smallpox"

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