All About Smallpox Essay

1673 words - 7 pages

Small pox, which was once the most feared disease known by mankind started out in the days of Christopher Columbus. The disease set out to change the lives of the people in the worse way. It became known as an epidemic disease that ended up killinghundreds of people. Small pox started out in Hispaniola and because of no cure, ittraveled to the island of Puerto Rico, and then Cuba. It was only a matter of time until itspread to the mainland, somewhere in America. In the Middle Ages, small pox was ahighly contagious disease which often lead to death if not treated. In this term paper youwill read and learn about the causes, symptoms and treatments of this horrible disease.Small pox which was often refereed to as a life threatening disease, is caused by avirus, which was not discovered until the nineteenth century. Most of the victims whomacquired small pox, was a result of face to face contact. It is passed through the nosewhere tiny particles are released when the infected person sneezes, also by the mouthwhere particles are once again ejected when the victim coughs. The disease can betransmitted by dried small pox scabs and through materials the infected person has comein contact with. The virus is reproduced in the lymphoid tissue and released into thebody. Virus reproduction begins when the virion comes into contact with a suitable hostcell. The virus must interact with a receptor on the cell surface. The infectious cycleusually consists of two stages. The first stage makes the proteins necessary for theprotein to form. The second stage forms the adult virion to start the attack on the body.Smallpox attack with no warning.There are several painful symptoms that are brought upon by this disease. In most of the cases, symptoms in a new victim will occur ten to twelve days later. Patients willdevelop chills, high fever, and nausousness. The fevers may reach up to 105 degreesfarenht. In three or four days later a rash erupts and the fever and discomfort maysubside. It begins on the face, then spreading to the chest, arms, back and finally thelegs. It consists of hard red lumps which become pimple like, swelling and containingpuss. "The pustules gave the disease its name, by which it was first known in the west asVariola" (Giblin 59). This rash itches severely but scratching must be avoided in order toprevent another infection from forming. "Up to forty percent of the patients died, in therest, scabs eventually formed and then fell off, leaving permanent pits and scars in theskin" ( Lawrence 365). Some of the patients were also left blinded. The victims whowere faced with this dreadful disease, suffered terribly. In some cases if sever enoughthe patient would lose the battle with smallpox and die. Sometimes the rash would neverheal completely and cause an acne type look on the persons body. There is nomedication to clear up the acne it is perminit, sometimes worse than others.In 1796, Edward Jenner, a British physician, developed the first vaccine...

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