Korean J Med Hist.  1995 Dec;4(2):165-173.

Infectious diseases and medical institutions in the late Chosen dynasty

  • 1Catholic University Medical College, Kee's Dental Clinic, Korea.


The first Korean record on the smallpox can be found in the Hyangyak-Kukupbang compiled during the period of late Koryo dynasty. The record told on the cause, symptom, preventive and curative method of the disease but it did not touch upon its infectivity. Jeong Yak-Yong and Lee Jong-In of late 18th and early 19th centuries recognized first that the disease is infectious and it can be prevented by the vaccination method. But the vaccination against smallpox had not been carried out in public until 1880. From 1879 Chi Suk-Young began to try it privately to his relatives and neighbors. For sometime the smallpox vaccination was considered foreign and heretical by many people and some officers, so the trial of Chi and his colleagues had to go through an ordeal until the Reform of 1894. In 1895 the government first proclaimed an Ordinance on the Smallpox Vaccination in October and an Ordinance on the Training Center for Smallpox Vaccination in November. And two years later, in 1897 to bring up the vaccination doctors the government established the Training Center for Smallpox Vaccination, which was in 1899 integrated into the Medical school, the first modern and westernized medical school run by Korean government. Many of the vaccination doctors were posted at the newly established Office of Smallpox Vaccination by the government to perform their activities there until 1907.


Smallpox; Vaccination Doctor; Office of Smallpox Vaccination; Training Center for Smallpox Vaccination

MeSH Terms

English Abstract
History of Medicine, 18th Cent.
History of Medicine, 19th Cent.
History of Medicine, 20th Cent.
Public Health/*history
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