Small Pox


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 killing hundreds of people. Small pox started out in Hispaniola
and because of no cure, it traveled to the island of Puerto Rico, and then Cuba.
It was only a matter of time until it spread to the mainland, somewhere in
America. In the Middle Ages, small pox was a highly contagious disease which
often lead to death if not treated. In this term paper you will 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 a virus, which was not discovered until the nineteenth century. Most
of the victims whom acquired small pox, was a result of face to face contact.
It is passed through the nose where tiny particles are released when the
infected person sneezes, also by the mouth where particles are once again
ejected when the victim coughs. The disease can be transmitted by dried small
pox scabs and through materials the infected person has come in contact with.
The virus is reproduced in the lymphoid tissue and released into the body.
Virus reproduction begins when the virion comes into contact with a suitable
host cell. The virus must interact with a receptor on the cell surface. The
infectious cycle usually consists of two stages. The first stage makes the
proteins necessary for the protein 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 will develop chills, high fever, and nausousness. The fevers
may reach up to 105 degrees farenht. In three or four days later a rash erupts
and the fever and discomfort may subside. It begins on the face, then spreading
to the chest, arms, back and finally the legs. It consists of hard red lumps
which become pimple like, swelling and containing puss. "The pustules gave the
disease its name, by which it was first known in the west as Variola" (Giblin
59). This rash itches severely but scratching must be avoided in order to
prevent another infection from forming. "Up to forty percent of the patients
died, in the rest, scabs eventually formed and then fell off, leaving permanent
pits and scars in the skin" ( Lawrence 365). Some of the patients were also
left blinded. The victims who were faced with this dreadful disease, suffered
terribly. In some cases if sever enough the patient would lose the battle with
smallpox and die. Sometimes the rash would never heal completely and cause an
acne type look on the persons body. There is no medication to clear up the acne
it is perminit, sometimes worse than others.

In 1796, Edward Jenner, a British physician, developed the first vaccine
to prevent small pox (Johnston 92). At the age of eight he experienced a
painful fight with small pox. This was his inspiration to discover a method to
prevent the suffering of small pox victims. The news of this marvelous
development spread quickly and it was soon used widely around the world. During
the 1800\'s many countries required everyone as a law, to receive the vaccine.
It was recognized that the vaccine was the best quality and the disease
continued to spread. The vaccination contained the virus that causes cowpox,
this disease is similar to small pox but a milder form. This causes the
production of antibodies that give protection against both cowpox and small pox.
There is no specific treatment for small pox. Due to the disease being so
contagious, patients need to be isolated until they are completely recovered.
The sores must be kept clean and penicillin and sulfa medications are sometimes
given to prevent further infections. However, after a person has come across
the disease and recovers from it they become permanently immune to the virus.
Jenner later promoted the smallpox vaccination and ultimately wiped the virus
clear out. Since then there has only been one case of smallpox but they are not
certain that it really was the smallpox virus or just a clone of a chicken pox
virus. Vaccinations only work depending on ones immune system if