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Spoon commemorating smallpox recovery, London, England, 1740

The silver spoon commemorates the recovery of two people from smallpox. Surviving the disease was worth celebrating as it was often fatal. Survivors would be left with scars on the skin as a permanent reminder of the disease, but also had life long immunity from smallpox.

Object number:

1980-1320/1

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Glossary:

Glossary: spoon

A utensil consiting of an oval or round end-piece (bowl) and a handle for conveying food, especially liquid, to the mouth, or employed in the culinary preparation of this.

Glossary: commemorative

Use for items produced, issued, or worn to commemorate a person, event, or occasion. For structures erected to preserve the memory of persons or events, use "memorials."

Glossary: immunity

The condition of being immune, the protection against infectious disease conferred either by the immune response generated by immunisation or previous infection or by other nonimmunologic factors.

Glossary: smallpox

Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.

Glossary: pustule

A small inflammation of the skin, containing pus.