Variola (smallpox)

Highly contagious and frequently fatal viral disease characterized by a biphasic (double-humped) fever and a distinctive skin rash that (if the patient survived) left pock marks in its wake. The English physician Edward Jenner (1749-1823) exploited the fact that cowpox created immunity to smallpox and successfully developed an attenuated (weakened) virus vaccine for smallpox. Thanks to vaccination , smallpox has been eradicated. It was so named because the pocks were small and the disease was seen as less than the “great pox” (syphilis).

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Smallpox — otheruses4|the disease the 1982 Serbian film|Variola Vera|the fish genus|Variola (Serranidae) Infobox Disease Name = Smallpox Caption = A child infected with smallpox ICD10 = ICD10|B|03| |b|00 ICD9 = ICD9|050 DiseasesDB = 12219 MedlinePlus =… …   Wikipedia

  • smallpox — An acute eruptive contagious disease caused by a poxvirus (Orthopoxvirus, a member of the family Poxviridae) and marked at the onset by chills, high fever, backache, and headache; in 2–5 days the constitu …   Medical dictionary

  • variola major — n a severe form of smallpox characterized historically by a death rate up to 40 percent or more * * * the classic severe form of smallpox …   Medical dictionary

  • variola minor — n a mild form of smallpox of low mortality called also alastrim, amaas * * * a mild form of smallpox that was found only in certain parts of South America and Africa …   Medical dictionary

  • Variola — Va*ri o*la, n. [LL., fr. L. varius various. See {Various}.] (Med.) The smallpox. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • variola — (n.) smallpox, 1771, from medical Latin dim. of L. varius changing, various, in this case speckled (see VARY (Cf. vary)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • variola — [və rī′ə lə] n. [ModL < ML, a pustule, prob. altered (based on L varius, various, mottled: see VARY) < L varus, pustule, pimple: see VARIX] any of a group of viral diseases characterized by pustular eruptions, including smallpox, cowpox,… …   English World dictionary

  • Smallpox — Small pox , n. [Small + pox, pocks.] (Med.) A contagious, constitutional, febrile disease characterized by a peculiar eruption; variola. The cutaneous eruption is at first a collection of papules which become vesicles (first flat, subsequently… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • smallpox — (variola; smawl poks) Once a highly contagious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus. Its most noticeable symptom was the appearance of blisters and pustules on the skin. Vaccination has eradicated smallpox throughout the world …   Dictionary of microbiology

  • smallpox — [smôlpäks΄] n. an acute, highly contagious disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by prolonged fever, vomiting, and pustular eruptions that often leave pitted scars, or pockmarks, when healed: see VARIOLA …   English World dictionary

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