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smallpox

GC: n

S: CDC - http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/(external link) (last access: 10 December 2013); http://www.medicinenet.com/smallpox/article.htm(external link) (last access: 28 July 2015); DORLAND.

N: 1. smallpox (n.): acute, highly contagious disease, 1510s, small pokkes, as distinguished from great pox "syphillis;" from small-pock "pustule caused by smallpox" (mid-15c.); see small (adj.) + pox. Compare French petite vérole. Fatal in a quarter to a third of unvaccinated cases.
2. There are two clinical forms of smallpox. Variola major is the severe and most common form of smallpox, with a more extensive rash and higher fever. There are four types of variola major smallpox: ordinary (the most frequent type, accounting for 90% or more of cases); modified (mild and occurring in previously vaccinated persons); flat; and hemorrhagic (both rare and very severe). Historically, variola major has an overall fatality rate of about 30%; however, flat and hemorrhagic smallpox usually are fatal. Variola minor is a less common presentation of smallpox, and a much less severe disease, with death rates historically of 1% or less.
3. Generally, direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact is required to spread smallpox from one person to another. Smallpox also can be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects such as bedding or clothing. Rarely, smallpox has been spread by virus carried in the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains. Humans are the only natural hosts of variola. Smallpox is not known to be transmitted by insects or animals. Generally, direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact is required to spread smallpox from one person to another. Smallpox also can be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects such as bedding or clothing. Rarely, smallpox has been spread by virus carried in the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains. Humans are the only natural hosts of variola. Smallpox is not known to be transmitted by insects or animals.
4. Smallpox spreads very easily from person to person. Symptoms are flu-like. They include: high fever, fatigue, headache, backache, a rash with flat red sores.
5. Cultural Interrelation:
  • Reality: Edward Jenner (1749-1823) was an English doctor, the pioneer of smallpox vaccination and the father of immunology.
  • Fiction: Unforgiven (1992) by Clint Eastwood. "She was a comely young woman and not without prospects. Therefore it was heartbreaking to her mother that she would enter into marriage with William Munny, a known thief and murderer, a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition. When she died, it was not at his hands as her mother might have expected, but of smallpox. That was 1878."
S: 1. OED - http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=smallpox&searchmode=none(external link) (last access: 5 September 2014). 2 & 3. CDC - http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/overview/disease-facts.asp(external link) (last access: 10 December 2013). 4. MEDLP - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/smallpox.html(external link) (last access: 10 December 2013). 5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/jenner_edward.shtml(external link) (last access: 28 September 2014); http://www.filmsite.org/unfo.html(external link) (last access: 29 November 2015); FCB.

SYN: 1. variola. 2. small pox, variola. 3. variola.

S: 1. TERMIUM PLUS (last access: 28 September 2014). 2. GDT (last access: 28 September 2014). 3. DORLAND p. 2025.

CR: bioterrorism, vaccine.

Terminology

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