Small pox, which was once the most feared disease known by mankind started out in the days of Christopher Columbus. The disease set out to change the lives of the people in the worse way. It became known as an epidemic disease that ended up killing hundreds of people. Small pox started out in Hispaniola and because of no cure, it traveled to the island of Puerto Rico, and then Cuba. It was only a matter of time until it spread to the mainland, somewhere in America. In the Middle Ages, small pox was a highly contagious disease which often lead to death if not treated.  In this term paper you will read and learn about the causes, symptoms and treatments of this horrible disease.

Causes & Diagnosis

Small pox which was often referred to as a life threatening disease is caused by a virus, which was not discovered until the nineteenth century.  Most of the victims acquired small pox as a result of face to face contact.  It is passed through the nose where tiny particles are released when the infected person sneezes, also by the mouth where particles are once again ejected when the victim coughs.  The disease can be transmitted by dried small pox scabs and through materials the infected person has come in contact with.  The virus is reproduced in the lymphoid tissue and released into the body.  Virus reproduction begins when the virus comes into contact with a suitable host cell.  The virus must interact with a receptor on the cell surface.  The infectious cycle usually consists of two stages.  The first stage makes the proteins necessary for the protein to form.  The second stage forms the adult virus to start the attack on the body. Smallpox attack with no warning.


There are several painful symptoms that are brought upon by this disease. In most of the cases, symptoms in a new victim will occur ten to twelve days later.  Patients will develop chills, high fever, and nausousness. The fevers may reach up to 105F. In three or four days later a rash erupts and the fever and discomfort may subside.  It begins on the face, then spreading to the chest, arms, back and finally the legs.  It consists of hard red lumps which become pimple like, swelling and containing puss.  “The pustules gave the disease its name, by which it was first known in the west as Variola” (Giblin 59).  This rash itches severely but scratching must be avoided in order to prevent another infection from forming.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

1 Comment

  1. Please learn basic grammar!

    “Most of the victims, whom acquired small pox, were a result of face to face contact”

    1. Who, not whom!
    2. The Victims were not a result of face to face contact! But they did acquire small pox through face to face contact.

    “Most of the victims acquired small pox as a result of face to face contact”

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