Small Pox History

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Becoming familiar with the history of smallpox establishes how deadly this disease was and confirms the destructive path it left. It can be compared to many of the diseases that are still affecting people today. The origin of smallpox is thought to begin around 10,000 BC, but the specific beginning is lost in prehistory. Other diseases, such as tuberculosis, have almost the same depth of history, but are still active today. Smallpox began around the same time as the first settlements of agriculture in Africa and then spread to India by merchants. There is evidence of smallpox from mummies around the time of the eighteenth and twentieth Egyptian Dynasties. Europe became infected with this horrific illness between the fifth and seventh centuries.…show more content…
In today’s society, specific illnesses are found in certain areas because of a lack of sanitation or limited access to medicine and vaccinations. At this point, sanitation was relatively poor everywhere, which lead to its high infection rate. Other factors such as the Arab expansion, the Crusades and the discovery of the West Indies all contributed to the spread of the disease. Humans, by nature, are curious creatures, which is one of the many reasons why smallpox escalated to multiple different areas around the world. A great example of this is the introduction of smallpox by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers. Completely unknown to the “New World,” this illness killed the majority of the local population and was one of the main reasons why the Aztec and Inca empires fell. The early settlers introduced the disease to the native population, which then led to a decline. This disease had the power to decimate entire groups of people and organizations to collapse. The effects of smallpox were devastating and noticeable and led to the fist examples of biological warfare during the Fresh-Indian War. The commander of the British forces suggested using smallpox deliberately to diminish the opposing…show more content…
At times the mortality rate was not less than one-sixth of the birth rate. Modern medicine had developed significantly since this time, but during this period, the only way people believed this disease could be prevented was through inoculation. Before the discovery of the vaccine, people would infect themselves and their children with the smallpox virus in the hopes to become immune to it. The process included using a “lancet wet with fresh matter taken from a ripe pustule of some person who suffered from smallpox… and then subcutaneously introduced on the arms or legs of the nonimmune person.” Clearly, this is not an ideal method to prevent smallpox, but research and studies showed it had some success in immunizing the people who received it. Variolation, another name for inoculation, was introduced to Europe in eighteenth century, but was practiced in Africa, India, and China long before then. It was popular among Europeans and practiced by professionals until Edward Jenner’s discovery of the first vaccine, which eventually led to the disuse of inoculation. Obviously, smallpox has a long history of detrimental behavior, but there are multiple illnesses that damaging parts
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