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The epidemic of smallpox in Northeastern Siberia and the first attempts to prevent it


Nikolaev V. P.

Annotation. Smallpox is one of the most dangerous human infectious diseases in the world, which claimed an estimated half a billion lives [1]. Smallpox reached the territory of Northeastern Siberia in the middle of the 17th century. It was spread by people from the European part of the Russian Empire. The devastating epidemics of smallpox led to the verge of extinction of entire tribal communities and small ethnic groups, especially in the Arctic. The article analyzes literary and archival materials on the history of smallpox and folk remedies used for the prevention of smallpox in the territory of Northeastern Siberia, particularly in Yakutia.

Key words: Smallpox, epidemics, vaccination against smallpox, Siberia, Northeast Siberia, the history of smallpox, folk remedies, Kiibes, Otosut.

For citations: Nikolaev V.P. Epidemics of smallpox in Northeastern Siberia and the first attempts to prevent it // Siberian Research. 2019. 2 (2). P. 26–30,

Received Oсtober 5, 2019, accepted for publication November 6, 2019, published December 1, 2019.


About the author

NIKOLAEV Valerian Parfentyevich, MD, PhD, Yakut scientific center of complex medical problems, 677019, Yakutsk, Sergelehskoye Highway 4, Russia, e-mail:




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Executive Editor

Humanitarian Research
Action member of the Petrovsky Academy of Arts and Sciences, associate professor of the Arctic State Institute of Culture and Arts

Yu.V. Spiridonov


Executive Editor

of the English edition
Candidate of Philological Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of English Philology Institute of Foreign Phi-lology and Area Studies, North-Eastern Federal University

S.V. Filippova