Ancient Diseases


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// Smallpox is a highly infectious and lethal disease that is caused by the variola virus, a member of the poxvirus family. The virus is airborne and is easily spread through sneezes, coughing, and even by touching objects such as books or blankets where an infected person has slept. When infected by the variola virus there is a 12-14 day delay, where the virus is multiplying in the body and no symptoms are visible. After the 12-14 day period symptoms become visible/noticeable all of a sudden. The symptoms include high fever of 102-106 degrees F, chills, headache, muscle cramping especially in the back, vomiting. After 3-4 days the fever decreases and the symptoms decrease also. It seems like the patient is getting all better. Then painful sores develop in the mouth, face and forearms, and they become firm and they increase in number. They spread from the face and ends of arms and legs toward the body. 3-4 days after this rash, clear blisters form and then the blisters get filled with puss. Some of them bleed. Then they form crust and scabs that usually fall off three weeks after the beginning of the illness, leaving small scars. It can be more serious than this; people can die from it, due to the infection of the blisters and no effective cure for it. The patient is contagious from one day before the rash appears until all the scabs have fallen off.


History: In the middle ages it was noticed that ladies who milked cows would get a viral infection from the cows called “Cow Pox” or “Milker’s Nodules” people noticed that people who had cow pox never got smallpox, because the virus was somewhat similar to the smallpox. This gave people the idea to immunize against smallpox by using similar virus to smallpox. Cow pox was rarely very serious and it provided immunity from smallpox, so that’s how people got the idea to vaccinate against smallpox. In 1967 the world health organization started a program to get rid of smallpox. After ten years smallpox was considered to no longer exist. There are only two laboratories that keep the virus alive for possible future use, and those laboratories located in Atlanta, Georgia and the other one is in Moscow, Russia.

Websites:|CV2643450806&mode=view   The Global Eradication of Smallpox, Science and Its Times, 2001|CX3403300698&mode=view    Smallpox,   Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security, 2004

Text book: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 11th edition, 1987 McGraw Hill



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// Malaria is an ancient, common tropical disease that is very fatal. It is spread by certain kinds of mosquitoes. Symptoms of malaria include joint pain, flashes of fever, and nausea. These symptoms can be cured, but the disease comes back again. In Africa people have up to forty round of malaria in their lifetime.  Malaria virus known as Plasmodian falciparum that dates back to as far as several million years ago, but it didn’t started effecting humans until about 10,000 years ago. Malaria has been described in medical records from ancient China, India, and Greece. Word “malaria” comes from two Italian words for “bad air”: Mal “bad” Aria “air”. Because people in ancient times believe that the virus is coming from poisonous vapor in the air around swamps and lakes. People who lived near swamps and lakes are more prone to the disease.  The Romans had the most success trying to get rid of the malaria, they drained large swamp areas around the city where malaria lived and bred.

CAUSES: Malaria is transmitted by female mosquitoes that carry the parasite in their body. Once the mosquito bites a person it injects small amount of saliva into the person’s bloodstream. The saliva contains the parasite and it travels through the bloodstream into the person’s liver where it reproduces. Once it leaves the liver into goes back into the bloodstream and that’s when the symptoms start to show.




Huntington disease is called hereditary chorea or Huntington chorea, the word “Chorea” comes from the Greek word “dance” referring to the involuntary movement of the feet and face and as disease progresses. A person with Chorea develops abnormal movement, dementia, memory loss, depression, clumsiness, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, changed in thinking, behavior and personality. Symptoms of Chorea show up between the ages of 30 and 50. About 30,000 people in the USA are affected by Chorea.

Cure: there is no cure for people who have inherited Chorea. But there are therapies, such as speech therapies and physical therapy, which can lessen the symptoms.



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