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Extract from a report written by Dr Livingstone commenting on disease, 1872
(Catalogue ref: FO 881/2060)
P.S.-The number of deaths caused by smallpox in this region is so enormous that I ask the government for a supply of smallpox vaccine, to meet me when I return. Quickly send one portion to the Cape in the Governor's mailbag and another portion by way of Bombay. Many intelligent Arabs have said to me that they are willing to use it. If I remember rightly, Lady Mary W. Montagu brought the knowledge of inoculation from Turkey. This race, though narrow-minded, perhaps more so than the Turks, may use this better remedy. If they do, it will be a great thing as many thousands die each year, and they have no method of prevention. The reason for troubling you is that I do not know anyone in London who can supply the vaccine to me. Professor Christison of Edinburgh, who used to put the vaccine in capillary tubes, may not now be alive. The capillary tubes are the only way I have seen to keep the vaccine fresh in this climate. If your Lordship will arrange to send the vaccine in tubes, I will be able to try to help this great population.

D.L.
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