• Question: have you ever found cowpox?

    Asked by mikehunt69 to Nicola on 11 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Nicola Wardrop

      Nicola Wardrop answered on 11 Mar 2013:

      I have done quite a lot of work with cows, but I haven’t ever found cowpox. I think it is a pretty rare disease now – it is possible that some of the herds of cows we have looked at have had cowpox, but we normally have a vet with us when we are working with the cows, so I think they would have told us if they had seen it.

      When cowpox was more common, people noticed that folk who had been infected with cowpox couldn’t be infected with smallpox (which is a really nasty disease) – this led them to develop the first ever smallpox vaccine. Eventually they managed to wipe out smallpox from the whole world – it doesn’t exist any more! Pretty cool eh?!