Smallpox was a dreaded disease back in the day.

The epidemics started in Boston in 1721, killing more than 850 persons during the winter of 1722. The repeated outbreaks of 1721, 1752, 1764, and 1775 were particularly severe. Death rates were high. During the siege of Boston by General George Washington, the disease broke out among both Continental and British camps. Many escaped slaves who fled from the British lines in the South likewise contracted smallpox and died.

Even among survivors, the suffering was enormous. Some of the clinical features of the affliction are described in a…



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