Smallpox, a very deadly and contagious disease, threatened a majority of populations all around the world. This disease has been around for hundreds of thousands of even in the B.C.s. Smallpox was feared by the places it threatened. These people wanted and needed some way to protect themselves from the virus that scared them. Smallpox has had a huge impact on several civilizations until treatments like inoculation and vaccinations were practiced.
Variola, the scientific name for the virus that causes smallpox, has made itself a part of history around the world (Marrin 15). Smallpox, also known as the speckled monster, assisted a Spanish conqueror. Hernan Cortes tried to conquer a great Aztec city and had to retreat the first time. While Cortes and his men were reorganizing, the Aztecs got the speckled monster and became disorganized. Ultimately, the army of Cortes defeated the Aztecs with the help of an invisible friend (Jeanette 29). Variola also helped Francisco Pizarro overthrow the Inca Empire in Peru in 1533. The Inca ruler and 250,000 of his subjects died of the disease (Marrin 28). Queen Elizabeth I of England got smallpox and survived in1562. She was twenty-nine and the doctors used the ‘draw out’ treatment but the disease left her nearly bald with no eyelashes and her face covered in pits. As a result, variola left Queen Elizabeth I wearing a wig and heavy make-up for forty-one years until she died at the age of seventy (Marrin 25). Lady Mary Montagu from Turkey promoted smallpox inoculations by persuading Princess Caroline of England to do all these inoculation tests on other people and then having her three daughters inoculated (Jeanette 20-21).
Smallpox has had many effects on civilizations around the world. Our ‘friend’ the speckled monster has killed one-third of its victims. Smallpox has also made one out of every six people blind in, one eye if not both eyes (Marrin 18). The early symptoms of variola are high fever, migraines, muscle aches, terrible stomach cramps, vomiting, and rashes start to appear on the roof of mouth and on the face, hands, and arms. During the first ten days variola is busy taking over the throat cells and the body feels fine (Marrin 17). In 350 A.D. a Chinese doctor, Ho Kung describes the look of smallpox on patients’ bodies as, “sores which attack the head, face, and trunk (Marrin 16). They have the appearance of hard boils, containing white matter,” (Marrin 17-18). Smallpox spreads by sores in throat and through open blisters (Marrin 16). The virus reproduces millions of times by day twelve and the cells start to travel through the body by bloodstream. Day eighteen brings the body to be covered in small, red pocks that gradually fill with pus (Marrin 17).
Before the eighteen hundreds, people tried and almost failed to stop variola major from spreading. Prior to the eighteen hundreds there was no cure for the...