Saturday, February 9, 2019

How an African Slave in Boston Helped Save Generations from Smallpox

Via Wes

A Boston advertisement for a cargo of about 250 slaves recently arrived from Africa circa 1700, particularly stressing that the slaves are free of smallpox, having been quarantined on their ship.
Boston Ad

The news was terrifying to colonists in Massachusetts: Smallpox had made it to Boston and was spreading rapidly. The first victims, passengers on a ship from the Caribbean, were shut up in a house identified only by a red flag that read “God have mercy on this house.” Meanwhile, hundreds of residents of the bustling colonial town had started to flee for their lives, terrified of what might happen if they exposed themselves to the frequently deadly disease.

They had reason to fear. The virus was extremely contagious, spreading like wildfire in large epidemics. Smallpox patients experienced fever, fatigue and a crusty rash that could leave disfiguring scars. In up to 30 percent of cases, it killed.

More @ History

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