Vaccines and the Boanthropy Risk

I’m reading Jeffrey Kacirk’s delightful Forgotten English, which includes this anecdote concerning boanthropy, a condition where a person believes himself to be a cow or ox:

In 1792, Edward Jenner successfully developed a vaccine for smallpox by injecting a boy with closely related cowpox germs. He did this despite his medical critics’ attempts to scuttle his project by circulating boanthropy scare-stores. The critics alleged that those inoculated would develop bovine appetites, make cowlike sounds, and go about on four legs butting people with their horns…

One thought on “Vaccines and the Boanthropy Risk”

  1. Sssshhhh!, don’t give the anti-vax nuts any more ideas! Next thing you know they’ll be screeching about “the Boanthropy risk” too.

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