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Lecture 7

HLTA01 - Lecture 7.docx

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Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Lecture 7 – Smallpox (Variola)  Smallpox is an “old world” disease which has no classification limits (rich/poor equally affected)  10 000 BC, the first agriculture settlements in North Eastern Africa the smallpox virus was spread from here by ancient Egyptian merchants  Earliest evidence on Egyptian mummies  Pharaoh Ramses V  Smallpox is described in historical China, and is mentioned in the ancient texts of India th  In Europe there was a frequent smallpox epidemic during the middle ages, and 16 century London Effects of Smallpox  Plague of Antonine was responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire  Not completely sure it was smallpox  New world in the 16 century, victory of the explorers over the native population  Fall of the great empires of the Aztecs and Incas  Used to help settle North America  Captain Ecuyer (first use of biological warfare; 18 century) used blankets and handkerchiefs infected with smallpox, to spread the disease to the native population Etiology  Virus: Orthopoxvirus poxviridae  Common name: Variola virus  Major 30% virulence  Minor 2% virulence  Monkey pox is the same as small pox with a lower virulence  Haemorrhagic smallpox or black pox develops in 5-10% of cases  Malignant and haemorrhagic form of variola major  Mortality rate of 95% Transmission  Continuously transmitted, with no long term carries  Enters body by inhalation (person to person contact)  Smallpox does not exist in animals, however there are related pox viruses present in animals  Smallpox is spread by direct contact though inhalation  Animal reservoirs do not exist  Virus multiplies in mucus membranes and then moves to the lymph nodes --> where it advances to the internal organs --> eventually reaching the bloodstream  Virus can only survive for approximately 2 days outside of a human host  Incubation period of 9 – 14 days Clinical Manifestation  Acute onset; fever, malaise, rigors, vomiting, headache, backache and occasionally delirium  Within 2 – 3 days the skin lesions appear  8 – 14 days later pustules develop scabs and heal  There is a common occurrence of sev
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