Smallpox (variola)
A highly contagious and frequently fatal viral disease characterized by a biphasic (double-humped) fever and a distinctive skin rash that (if the patient survived) left pock marks in its wake. It was so named because the pocks were small and the disease was seen as less than the “great pox” (syphilis). The English physician Edward Jenner (1749-1823) exploited the fact that cowpox created immunity to smallpox and successfully developed an attenuated (weakened) virus vaccine for smallpox. He announced his discovery of vaccination in 1798. In America the first physician to promote the use of Jenner's vaccine was Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), professor of the theory and practice of physic at Harvard Medical School. Waterhouse inoculated his son and the rest of his household in 1800 to prove the value of the vaccine. (Experimenting on near and dear ones is frowned upon today). Smallpox is one of the success stories of medicine. Thanks to vaccination, smallpox was eradicated from the globe in 1977.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Smallpox — otheruses4|the disease the 1982 Serbian film|Variola Vera|the fish genus|Variola (Serranidae) Infobox Disease Name = Smallpox Caption = A child infected with smallpox ICD10 = ICD10|B|03| |b|00 ICD9 = ICD9|050 DiseasesDB = 12219 MedlinePlus =… …   Wikipedia

  • variola minor — noun 1. a mild form of smallpox caused by a less virulent form of the virus • Syn: ↑alastrim, ↑pseudosmallpox, ↑pseudovariola, ↑milk pox, ↑white pox, ↑West Indian smallpox, ↑Cuban itch, ↑Kaffir pox …   Useful english dictionary

  • Smallpox vaccine — The smallpox vaccine was the first successful vaccine ever to be developed. It was first perfected in 1796 by Edward Jenner who acted upon the observation that milkmaids who caught the cowpox virus did not catch smallpox. Before smallpox… …   Wikipedia

  • variola major — noun 1. a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever and weakness and skin eruption with pustules that form scabs that slough off leaving scars • Syn: ↑smallpox, ↑variola • Hypernyms: ↑pox • Hyponyms: ↑alastrim, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • variola major — n a severe form of smallpox characterized historically by a death rate up to 40 percent or more * * * the classic severe form of smallpox …   Medical dictionary

  • variola minor — n a mild form of smallpox of low mortality called also alastrim, amaas * * * a mild form of smallpox that was found only in certain parts of South America and Africa …   Medical dictionary

  • Variola — Va*ri o*la, n. [LL., fr. L. varius various. See {Various}.] (Med.) The smallpox. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • variola — (n.) smallpox, 1771, from medical Latin dim. of L. varius changing, various, in this case speckled (see VARY (Cf. vary)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • variola — [və rī′ə lə] n. [ModL < ML, a pustule, prob. altered (based on L varius, various, mottled: see VARY) < L varus, pustule, pimple: see VARIX] any of a group of viral diseases characterized by pustular eruptions, including smallpox, cowpox,… …   English World dictionary

  • Smallpox — Small pox , n. [Small + pox, pocks.] (Med.) A contagious, constitutional, febrile disease characterized by a peculiar eruption; variola. The cutaneous eruption is at first a collection of papules which become vesicles (first flat, subsequently… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”