The Discovery of Bacterium Causing Stomach Ulcers

For decades the medical community believed gastric ulcers were directly related to stress with the only options for relief being antacids and surgery. In the early 1980’s, Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warren discovered through biopsies of gastric ulcers, that nearly all were overrun by helicobacter pylori bacteria. Helicobacter pylori only seems to infect humans, as studies performed upon pigs and rats were unsuccessful as these animals were unable to contract the bacterium. Marshall decided to infect himself and within 5 days of doing so, he started running to the bathroom each morning to throw up. Tests demonstrated that Marshall had gastritis, a precursor to an ulcer. Marshall took antibiotics and was cured, proving once and for all that ulcers are caused by bacteria not stress. In 2005, Marshall and Warren won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their findings

The First U.S. Presidential Vaccine Mandate

U.S. President George Washington issued the first presidential vaccine mandate, requiring all soldiers within the continental army to become vaccinated against smallpox on February 5, 1777. 90% of deaths during the American Revolution were due to disease, with smallpox being the most prevalent and difficult pathogen for the military to control. Immunization was viewed as an achievable solution to a virtually insurmountable problem as death from smallpox plunged from 30% to 2% after a becomming immunized. Vaccination, or “variolation” as it was referred to during the era, was achieved by taking a small piece of an active smallpox sore from an infected person, and then introducing it to the person being inoculated via inhalation or by scratching their arm and introducing the virus by touch. The mandate, although initially detested, became highly successful in its pursuit of lowering soldier mortality rate, with 40,000 soldiers vaccinated by the end of 1777