Koppeinokulasjon i Norge
- Side: 345-366
- Publisert på Idunn: 2010-11-10
- Publisert: 2010-11-10
Koppeinokulasjon innebærer at smittestoff fra kopper risses inn i huden og fremkaller et vanligvis mildt tilfelle av koppesykdom med påfølgende immunitet. Metoden var i bruk i Europa på 1700-tallet, inntil den ble avløst av E. Jenners kukoppevaksine i 1796. Inokulasjon dreide seg ikke om å helbrede, men om å hindre sykdom, og reiste spørsmål av religiøs, etisk og medisinsk karakter. Metoden fikk relativt liten utbredelse i Norge, men var kjent over hele landet og kan ha blitt brukt som privat huskur. Publiserte tekster viser god kjennskap til den internasjonale debatten om inokulasjon i norsk offentlighet.
Smallpox inoculation in eighteenth-century Norway
Smallpox inoculation was practised in most European countries during the eighteenth century, its aim being not to cure, but to prevent, disease: Grafting variolous matter into the arms of a healthy person provoked a (normally) mild case of the disease, with subsequent immunity. As the first effective prophylactic against an epidemic disease, serious debate ensued: Could it be morally right to inflict healthy people with the seeds of a potentially fatal disease? In 1796, inoculation was replaced by Jenners vaccination method using harmless cowpox to produce immunity. In Norway, no extensive inoculation programmes were initiated, but the method appears to have been generally known. Medical texts and pamphlets propagating the method prove that the arguments and disputes from European debates on inoculation reached the country and were well known. Available source material also indicates that it was practised more widely than has so far been acknowledged. In the article, it is argued that lay persons with no medical training were well represented among the practitioners and that the new medical technique became a house remedy. The article presents Norwegian texts defending inoculation, beginning with the earliest one published in Trondheim in 1762, and follows actual practice from its beginnings in Trondheim to later cases in southern and eastern parts of the country.