Warner photographed a number of smallpox patients in order to study the disease. In 1906, the Scottish Medical and Surgical Journal noted the importance of Warner’s work:
This particular photograph was originally accompanied by a caption which stated that both children were 13 years old, that they had both been infected by the same smallpox source on the same day, but that only one had received a vaccination in infancy:
„Shows two boys, both aged 13 years. The one on the right was vaccinated in infancy, the other was not vaccinated. They were both infected from the same source on the same day. Note that while the one on the left is in the fully pustular stage, the one on the right has had only two spots, which have aborted and have already scabbed.“
Smallpox was in existence for thousands of years and was feared throughout the world.
Killing a third of those it infected, in the 20th Century alone an estimated 300 million people died from the disease.
Those who were infected but survived were often left badly scarred.
A global vaccination programme, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), was carried out to wipe out the disease and by the 1970s cases were rare.
In 1980, following an historic global campaign of surveillance and vaccination, the World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated