Latent Vaccinosis

Latent Vaccinosis explained with cases by J.C.Burnett in his book on vaccinosis….

The vaccinate is one who is suffering from vaccinosis; he may not be ill in the ordinary sense, but he must be in a subdued morbid state, he has been blighted, or hi is no vaccinate; it is his diseased condition that protects him from small-pox.

Some may, perhaps, say that vaccinosis is the same as vaccinia; this is, however, not so; vaccinosis is vaccinia and something more, for if a person is vaccinated unsuccessfully he has not had vaccinia, whereas some of the worst cases of (my) vaccinosis which I have met with were just those in whom the vaccination did not “take,” as the saying goes. Hence I must call attention to what I believe is a fact, viz: that it often does take deep hold of the constitution without calling forth any local phenomena, and, not only so, but such cases may be even very severe in their internal developments, manifested by the supervention of various morbid symptoms after vaccination. Let us dwell a little on this novel assertion, I was going to say fact, yet probably very few will admit that it is a fact at all, but only a fad of mine, since everybody holds that if the vaccination does not “take” the individual has remained uninfluenced by the process of putting vaccine under the cuticle. In other words, when a person is vaccinated and does not take; is, in fact, unsuccessfully vaccinated, it is held that said person is proof against vaccination, and we certify accordingly. Every one believes that the unsuccessfully vaccinated individual has not in any way been affected or altered by the vaccination.


My own conception of the thing is just this: The vaccinated person is poisoned by the vaccine virus; what is called the “taking” is, in point of fact, the constitutional re-action whereby the organism frees itself more or less from the inserted virus. If the person do not “take”, AND THE VIRUS HAS BEEN ABSORBED, the “taking” becomes a chronic process-paresis, neuralgia, cephalalgiae, pimples, acne, &c. The less a person “takes,” therefore (in such a case), the MORE is likely to suffer from chronic vaccinosis, i.e., from the genuine vaccination disease in its chronic form, very frequently a neuralgia or paresis.

Most practitioners will agree that neuralgia is more prevalent now than ever before within the present age, and experience has forced me to ascribe many such cases to vaccinosis.

If my colleagues object to my aetiopathology of such neuralgia, perhaps they will favour as with a more satisfactory one. The word “neuralgia” covers such a multitude of sins in the world of nosology and pathology that my hypothesis is as exact science compared therewith!

But what evidence have I to offer that shall go to show whether there is such a disease as vaccinosis? or, that being conceded, whether Thuja can cure it?

I will first repeat that I do not claim to be the originator of this clinical application of Thuja; Boenninghausen was, I believe, the first to point out the homoeopathicity of Thuja Occidentalis to small-pox itself’, and thence its use was extended by Kunkel and Goullon to the duration of the ill-effects of vaccination, or vaccinosis as I propose to call it. My attention was first arrested by hearing of Dr. David.

Wilson’s use of Thuja, and then a perusal of Dr. Kunkel’s pamphlet and Dr. Goullon’s monograph on Thuja showed me the great importance of Thuja as a dynamic antidote to the effect of vaccination.

Let us now pass on to the consideration of some cases of what I call vaccinosis, and of the behaviour of Thuja therein.


Very early in the year 1881, I was called to see a baby in Harley Street, about ten weeks old; its mother thought it was dying. She had previously lost babies by death, and knew what a dying baby looked like. The wee patient had begun its life’s journey on the bottle; but, being overtaken by the measles, it nearly died, when a wet nurse was obtained and the baby rallied and began to thrive. But a new wet nurse had to be obtained, as the first went dry from over-feeding. The new wet nurse was healthy and strong, but, having gone into the Marylebone workhouse with her own very fine boy, she was re-vaccinated the day before she was removed there from to take charge of the patient in question. The baby throve for two or three days, and the mother was just congratulating herself on her success, when one afternoon it went very ill, and getting much worse towards the evening, the mother sent this message to me-“I think baby is dying.” I visited the babe in the warm and airy nursery, and investigated everything. There was nothing to account for the sudden change. Baby was ghastly white, and in collapse. On questioning the wet nurse as to her own health and state, she remarked that she was quite well (and she looked it, and had a notably good appetite), but she said her re-vaccinated arm “was a little painful.”

The vesicular stage of the local vaccinial eruption was just at the point of turning to the pustular.

I thought the matter over a little, and came to the conclusion that the poor wee thing was, in point of fact, sucking the vaccinial poison from its nurse through the milk. There I gave Thuja 6, in pilules, both to babe and nurse, but whether every half-hour or every hour, I do not now remember. Calling later in the evening, I noticed baby was asleep and looking a little less ghastly. Next morning it was indeed still pale, but practically well; and the vaccinial vesicles on the nurse`s arm had withered and they forthwith dried up completely, in lieu of becoming pustular. That baby never looked back, and is now a bonny child.

It is not possible to prove, of course, that this apparently dying baby was suffering from vaccinosis. It lay apparently dying: I feared it would die.

But some points in connection with this case are incontrovertible. For instance, it is a fact that the nurse had been re-vaccinated; it is equally a fact that she was suckling the baby; the baby was desperately ill of something; it got Thuja and began to mend forthwith. Moreover, and this point is significant, the vaccinial vesicles in the nurse’s arm withered instead of gong on to their usual development. Hence some disturbing influence must have intervened in her organism, and the only thing I know of was the Thuja. If the Thuja had no effect upon the suckling woman, what made the vaccinial vesicles wither?

Let us suppose that they withered because the milk drained off all the virus. But the baby sucked the milk, and very ill; and the withering of the vaccination vesicles was synchronous with the prompt and evident amelioration in the child.

But that is only one case and proves nothing: there are strange coincidences in organismic life as we all know.

Now let me narrate to you another case of acute vaccinosis, but before doing so it might not be amiss to interpolate an observation by Dr. J.T. Harris, of Boston, and published in the New England Medical Gazette, for June 1883. I quote it entire, because it strengthens my position somewhat; it runs thus:


On the 13th of February, 1882, I called at the house of Mr. G.-, intending to vaccinate his two children, one about three years old, the other a seven months’ babe at the breast, whose head, face, arms, and legs were covered with eczema, crusta lactea, from which it was suffering severely.

Fearing an aggravation of the humour from complication with the vaccination I decline to operate, giving as my reason that I thought the child was she would be more feverish, irritable, and would require greater care if vaccinated than at present. Although the three-years-old child was troubled with the same form of humour, I vaccinated her, and also the mother. Both vaccinations took, and ran the usual course without much constitutional disturbance. The fifth day after the operation was Mrs. G-‘s sickest day. She then had headache, backache, fever, and chill. The vaccination developed normally, but more rapidly than usual.

On the first day of March the baby was more restless and feverish, requiring constant care. On the second day the mother noticed a number of little red pimples upon the child. These increased rapidly upon the face, arms, and legs. I was called to see the little patient on Saturday, the 4th of March. The little pimples at this time were very numerous, had increased in size; the areola quite red; some swelling; baby feverish; temperature 102 degree. To the question, “What is it, doctor?” I frankly answered, “I do not know; it is not small-pox nor chicken-pox. I shall have to wait until it is more fully developed.”

On Sunday morning, the fifth day of the fever, the vesicles were forming and more or less filled with lymph, and in the afternoon some were umbilicated. Fresh eruptions were also developing, and upon the face, arms, and legs-those portions of the surface most severely marked with the eczema-the new eruption had become confluent, the whole character of the eruption resembling that of small-pox. There were without doubt between four and five hundred well-defined circular vesicles upon the child during the course of the disease. I invited Dr. Miles to see the case on Sunday afternoon. After a careful examination we concluded that it was a case of vaccinia, communicated to the child through the mother’s milk. That there should be no mistake, however, I called upon Dr. M. Cullom, the city physician, reported the case, and invited him to see the patient with me, which he did on Monday morning. Dr.Cutler, of Chelsea, also saw the case, and were much interested in it.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.