One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases

Book - 2007
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Baker & Taylor
A biography of the late immunologist follows his tireless quest to eradicate disease, discussing the history of the field of immunology, current controversy about the link between vaccines and autism, and Hilleman's success in developing the first mumps vaccine.


Maurice Hilleman's mother died a day after he was born and his twin sister stillborn. As an adult, he said that he felt he had escaped an appointment with death. He made it his life's work to see that others could do the same. Born into the life of a Montana chicken farmer, Hilleman ran off to the University of Chicago to become a microbiologist, and eventually joined Merck, the pharmaceutical company, to pursue his goal of eliminating childhood disease. Chief among his accomplishments are nine vaccines that practically every child gets, rendering formerly dread diseases—including often devastating ones such as mumps and rubella—practically toothless and nearly forgotten; his measles vaccine alone saves several million lives every year.

Vaccinated is not a biography; Hilleman's experience forms the basis for a rich and lively narrative of two hundred years of medical history, ranging across the globe and throughout time to take in a cast of hundreds, all caught up, intentionally or otherwise, in the story of vaccines. It is an inspiring and triumphant tale, but one with a cautionary aspect, as vaccines come under assault from people blaming vaccines for autism and worse. Paul Offit clearly and compellingly rebuts those arguments, and, by demonstrating how much the work of Hilleman and others has gained for humanity, shows us how much we have to lose.

Book News
Offit (infectious diseases, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) roots this survey of the worldwide history of vaccinations in the story of Maurice Hilleman, the researcher for Merck who formulated the vaccines for mumps, rubella, and measles that have all but obliterated the threat of those diseases, as well as for Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis virus and five other diseases. Also discussed is the scandalous sale of fetal cells by Stanford microbiologist Leonard Hayflick, Hillman's contributions to cancer treatment, and the debate over accusations that MMR vaccines cause autism and other defects in children. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Profiles the pivotal work of vaccine developer Maurice Hilleman, from his three-a.m. creation of the mumps vaccine when his daughter was stricken to his determined efforts to convince Merck executives to aid his efforts to prevent hepatitis B. 50,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Smithsonian Books/Collins, 2007
Edition: 1st Smithsonian Books ed
ISBN: 9780061227950
Characteristics: xv, 254 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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