With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, there was plenty of mentions about American Indians and how they were treated in the creation of this country. Then, we are also in the midst of a pandemic. I had the brilliant idea of writing about smallpox. (Actually, someone suggested it, but she’s an egomaniac and I refuse to give her credit. It’s for the best.)
Here are some random facts about one of the deadliest killers in history.
- There is evidence of smallpox back as far as the 3rd century on Egyptian mummies.
- Smallpox didn’t get its name until the early 16th century. They needed a new term to distinguish it from the “great pox” which was syphilis.
- Smallpox had about a 30% death rate. It was no black plague, but those are still scary numbers. Also, if you had no real acquired immunity, it would be even deadlier (like the American Indians).
- Don’t google photos of smallpox. Seriously.
- A famous story is that Hernan Cortes used smallpox blankets to conquer Tenochtitlan. It is only half right. The Aztecs caught it from the dead body of an infected soldier and then devastated the population.
- George Washington had smallpox and survived, thus giving him lifelong immunity.
Here’s the big one!
- Smallpox is the only disease to be globally eradicated. It was done so with vaccination. Imagine that. Vaccines eliminating a disease entirely. Almost like maybe people should get vaccinated and not make up stupid reasons not to. (Shrugs shoulders)
For more reading: