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HLTB21H3 (177)
Chapter 9

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Health Studies
Rhan- Ju Song

October 2012 Chapter 9: Smallpox, the Spotted Plague  Smallpox spread from village to village throughout the Yucatan  Smallpox had arrived in Peru by land in 1526, killing most of the Inca population  Smallpox was considered an old world disease and the new world had never been exposed to it, so they did not have immunity to it A Look Back  Smallpox was at one time one of the most devastating of all human diseases  No one really knows when smallpox began to infect humans o People thought that it came from another infectious agent from one of the pox like diseases from domesticated animals  The best evidence of smallpox was found in three Egyptian mummies o Pharaoh Ramses, his face, neck, shoulders are covered with scars, pockmarks  Smallpox spread form west to china o Trade caravans helped the spread of smallpox  It was also known in Greece and Rome but was not a major health problem until the Plague of Antonine  The major spread of smallpox spread in the 8 and 9 century during the Islamic expansion across North America and into Spain and Portugal  The movements of caravans and people to and from Asia Minor helped reintroduce smallpox to Europe  The English used smallpox as a weapon of germ warfare o Blankets were purposefully contaminated with scabby material from the smallpox pustules and delivered to the Indians, causing the spread for the disease o This lead to a lot of deaths, and ensured the Indian’s defeat The Disease of Smallpox  Smallpox is caused by one of the largest viruses, and it can be seen with a light microscope  The virus has about 200 genes, 35 which are involved in virulence  Smallpox virus enters the body through droplet infection by inhalation o It can also be acquired by direct contact or through contaminated objects  Cycle: o There is no signs of illness in the first week of infection o Virus moved on to the lymph nodes and to internal organs via bloodstream, multiplies again o The first symptoms appear around the ninth day, headache, fever, chills, nausea, muscle ache o Few days later, a rash appears , scars start to form (pockmarks) o Around a day later, the scabs will fall off, people may die  There are two forms of the smallpox virus o Variola Major: deadlier form, kill up to 25 % of the victims o Variola Minor: milder form, kill up to 2 %  Smallpox can cause blindness, up to 1/3 of the population th  The 18 century in Europe was called the “age of powder and patches” 1 October 2012 Catching Smallpox  Smallpox is a contagious disease that is spread from person to person, and there are no animal reservoirs  There has to be enough susceptible persons born annually to keep the chain of infection indefinite  Smallpox spreads more rapidly during the winter in temperate climates and during the dry season in the tropics  Smallpox became a disease of childhood, since mostly children were susceptible to it because of immunity within the older generation Variolation
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