This Is A Paper That I Wrote For My Health Class. I Was Assigned The Topic Of Smallpox. I Did Very Well On This 5 Page Paper.

1281 words - 5 pages

SMALLPOXThe variola virus causes smallpox. The disease is at least 3000 years old, confirmed in China and India, with a few isolated cases in North Africa. There is no mention in Europe until the 6th century.During the 17th and 18th Centuries smallpox was the most serious infectious disease in The West and accounted for a substantial proportion of deaths, especially among town dwellers. The mortality rate varied regionally, with 10% in Europe and 90% in America. During the 20th Century, there was recognized for the first time a milder form of smallpox called variola minor or alas trim. It had a consistently low mortality rate of the order of 1%. This disease was endemic in Britain until 1935. Still more recently there has been recognized a third form, named East African Smallpox, the mortality rate of which in unvaccinated subjects is about 5%. This has not been recognized as having occurred in The West.The plague had eliminated as much as a third of the European population over a five-year period. Smallpox was never that devastating in Europe, becoming endemic and occasionally out breaking. Widespread resistance reduced the losses to local impacts of about 10%. However, introduction of smallpox to America quite rapidly depleted the population. For example, the Spanish attempted to settle Hispania for sugar cane plantation in 1509. By 1518 every single one of the 2.5 million aboriginals had perished, and the labor population had to be restored with African slaves.Hispania (modern Haiti and the Dominican Republic) were the first site of European contact. Exposure to smallpox during early Spanish attempts to convert the population into plantation slavery exterminated all 3.5 million inhabitants. African slaves replaced them, and this process was repeated throughout the New World for decades.Cortes introduced smallpox in 1520 during his unsuccessful assault on Techotitlan, the Aztec capital, now Mexico City. He had retreated to the coast and was surprised to find no retribution force following. After a few months he sent spies to the capital who reported widespread smallpox, and he returned to conquer the Aztecs in a matter of a few weeks, and established himself as their new god and emperor.The conquest of the continent was very much facilitated by rapid population declines. The history of early settlement was typically one of European settlers moving into an area, fighting aboriginals and over time, finding less and less resistance. The Aztec, Huron, Iroquois, Mohegan and other major nations, with populations in the millions, were reduced to thousands or eliminated altogether, mostly by smallpox.A person infected with smallpox and overtly sick usually transmits the virus face-to-face in a closed dwelling. There is no infectious sub-clinical state.Smallpox is a virus that causes a high fever and a rash that scars the skin. Because of recent events, some government officials believe there may be a risk that smallpox could be used to cause harm....

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