Nov 9, 2017
The story of smallpox blankets
offered as gifts to indigenous peoples as a weapon of war is
ubiquitous -- but is it based in truth? And did our increased
medical understanding of smallpox lead to its use as a biological
weapon? In this episode, we confront these questions and
explore the history of biological warfare, smallpox, and medicine.
Listen to all this, a new #AdamAnswers, and more in this episode of
Bedside Rounds, a tiny podcast about fascinating stories in
- Barras V and Groub G, “History of biological
warfare and bioterrorism,” Clin Microbiol Infect 2014.
W, “The history of biological weapons use: what we know and what we
don’t,” Health Security, Vol 13, No4, 2015.
- Fenner F et al, “Smallpox and its Eradication,”
World Health Organization, 1988, Chapters 5 and 6.
A, “The Nessus Shirt in the New World: Smallpox Blankets in History
and Legend,” J Am Folklore, Vol. 108, No. 427 (Winter, 1995),
C, “The origin of the smallpox outbreak in Sydney in 1789,” Journal
of the Royal Australian Historical Society, June, 2008.
- Skwarecki B, “What is the scariest disease?”
PLoS Blogs, retrieved at
- Theves C, et al, “The rediscovery of smallpox,”
Clin Microbiol Infect 2014; 20: 210-218.
- Ranlet P, “The British, the Indians, and
Smallpox: What actually happened at Fort Pitt in 1763?”,
Pennsylvania history: 427-442.
- Warren C, “Smallpox at Sydney Cove -- who,
when, why?” J Aust Studies, 30 Oct 2013