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Two glass ampoules of dysentery vaccine, Paris, France, 1917

This vaccine was used to vaccinate soldiers against dysentery. The disease affects the small intestine, causing diarrhoea and vomiting, and is spread through contaminated food and water. The name of the Laboratoire de l'Armée, which made this vaccine, translates as the “Army Laboratory”. This vaccine was made for the French Army during the First World War and was produced in 1917. It was important to immunise soldiers against dysentery in order to maintain a fit and healthy fighting force.

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    Glossary: vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

    Glossary: ampoule

    A sealed glass or plastic capsule containing one dose of a drug in the form of a sterile solution for injection.

    Glossary: dysentery

    Infectious disease with symptoms including diarrhoea, bleeding, and abdominal cramps. It spreads in contaminated food and water, especially in the tropics.

    Glossary: vaccine

    A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.