Smallpox Essay

308 Words2 Pages
Smallpox is a highly contagious and fatal disease that had a huge impact on the human population. It is thought to have been originated from India or Egypt at least 3,000 years ago. Smallpox is caused by two variations of the variola virus, variola major and variola minor. Variola major is the most common form of smallpox. It enters the body through the lungs and is carried to the internal organs. Then, the skin is infected and boils and rashes will appear all over. Smallpox is spread through contact between people and saliva when talking, coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread rapidly when the boils on the skin burst, leading to the smallpox DNA going everywhere.The highly infectious disease ravaged and plagued across the globe, decimating a large number of the population. In the 18th century, it had an astonishing mortality rate of 90% in the United States. Also, in the year 1966, it was estimated that 10-15 million citizens had died altogether. Smallpox was finally proclaimed eradicated in 1980. Nowadays, only government laboratories in the United States and Russia contains fragments of the virus for research purposes. However, if used as a biological warfare agent, it is a immense threat to humanity and civilization because of its case-fatality of more than 30%. No cure or treatment for smallpox exists. Luckily, there is a vaccine to prevent it. Although the vaccine may have some side effects causing harm to the body, it is the only way to prevent smallpox.…show more content…
Before that, people used variolation to prevent getting a more serious version of smallpox. Variolation is when the patient is inoculated with live smallpox. But in a lot of cases around the world, the plan backfired, leading the individual to contract a full-blown case of the
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