Skip to main content

Good Morning Kossacks and Welcome to Morning Open Thread (MOT)

    We're known as the MOTley Crew and you can find us here every morning at 7:00 am Eastern (and perhaps sometimes earlier!). Feel free to volunteer to take a day - permanently or just once in awhile. With the Auto Publish feature you can set it and forget it. Sometimes the diarist du jour shows up much later: that's the beauty of Open Thread...it carries on without you! Volunteer in the comment threads.

    Click on the MOT - Morning Open Thread ♥ if you'd like us to show up in your stream

Good Morning Motlies.

No Sax today - just SmAllpoX. As the media obsess on Ebola, I was reminded of this event from my childhood. The areas concerned are all within 20 miles of where I grew up.

In 1962, South Wales was the home of the last smallpox epidemic in the UK. Although he was carrying a smallpox vaccination certificate, Shuka Mia brought the deadly disease from Pakistan to the Welsh Valleys.

On 13 January 1962 a man called Shuka Mia arrived in Cardiff on a train from Birmingham. He’d flown into Britain the day before on a plane from Pakistan, where a smallpox epidemic claimed hundreds of lives that winter. Though he carried a vaccination certificate, he brought the deadly virus to Wales.

After arriving in Cardiff he lodged above a restaurant where he became fevered, and a doctor was called. He was diagnosed as having smallpox, and was immediately removed to Penrhys Isolation Hospital, on top of a mountain overlooking the Rhondda Valley. As news broke, panic ensued, and almost a million people were vaccinated in South Wales

No new cases were found, and it seemed that the crisis had been averted.

Then, out of the blue, a consultant at East Glamorgan Hospital became seriously ill (25 February). The mysterious case of Dr Robert Hodkinson marked the real beginning of the 1962 crisis. Bob Hodkinson knew that, somehow, he had contracted smallpox. Alone among the medical staff at East Glamorgan, Bob Hodkinson had not been revaccinated
After investigation, it was found that he had been infected during an autopsy of a woman who had died of a "mysterious disease". Unfortunately, she had been laid out in an open coffin for 6 days at her mother's house, and six more people became infected. The panic in the valley continued for a month, and eventually claimed six victims.

Again, the worst seemed to be over, but worse was to come.

On 6 April, eight patients at Glanrhyd Mental Hospital near Bridgend were diagnosed with Smallpox. One died that night. Many of its patients came from the Rhondda area
In the following week, 12 patients at the hospital died. The vectors of the disease were never positively identified, but airborne carriage is suspected, and there is the mystery visitor from the Rhondda to patient zero. Ironically, patient zero, Shuka Mia, survived the disease.

A fuller description can be found at this website , Smallpox 1962, dedicated to this subject, from where the above block quotes are taken.

Here is a video about the outbreak, and the creation of the website by a local university's journalism department.  Apologies for the time clock for the first 30 seconds.

.
.
And for those with less time, a little animation of Edward Jenner, father of immunology and vaccinations, who invented the smallpox vaccine.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site