Friday, August 5, 2011
The history of chickenpox disease
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Chicken pox is an illness with skin rashes. It is spread easily through the air by infected people when they sneeze or cough.
The disease also spreads through contact with an infected person's chickenpox blisters. People who have never had chickenpox can get infected just by being in a room with someone who has the disease.
It typically infects children in temperate regions; adults are more frequently infected in tropical areas.
Chickenpox got its name because it makes the skin look like the skin of a freshly plucked chicken. In the centuries when pox diseases regularly swept across Europe, people had to contend with the Great Pox (syphilis), the smallpox, the cowpox, and the chickenpox.
Until the 1900s, chicken pox was sometimes confused with smallpox, which is much more serious illness.
Chicken pox has likely been a human affliction for thousands of years. For, example, there is suggestive evidence of chickenpox in ancient Babylonia more than 2,000 years ago.
Giovanni Filippo (1510-1580) of Palermo gave the first description Chicken Pox. In 1600s, English Physician named Richard Morton mistook this disease with small pox he thought it was a milder form of smallpox.
In 1767, William Heberden, English physician became the first person demonstrated that small pox was different from chicken pox. Heberden showed how chicken pox was a mild disease and stressed that a person who has had chicken pox remained immune.
In 1875, a scientist discovered that chickenpox was caused by an infectious agent. Rudolf Steiner, took fluid from the chickenpox blisters of an infected person and rubbed it on the skin healthy volunteers. They too developed the itchy, bumpy rash.
In 1909, Von Bokay suggested that chickenpox and shingles were related infections, and idea that was confirmed in the 1920s and 1930s when children inoculated with fluid from zoster vesicles were shown to contract chickenpox.
In 1972, Takahashi developed a live attenuated VZV (varicella-zoster virus) vaccine for prevention of varicella.
The history of chickenpox disease
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