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The Columbian Exchange and Diseases


Works Cited

Medical descriptions of smallpox and syphilis

In order to understand the background situation of these diseases, we need to know what the definitions are of these diseases.   These diseases are transmitted different ways.  They are two different diseases.  Their names are smallpox and syphilis.   Here is a short explanation of what smallpox and syphilis are.
Smallpox is an infection caused by a virus called variola, which is a member of poxvirus family (Carson-DeWitt).  Smallpox is "characterized by fever, prostration, and a vesicular, pustular rash" (Mosby's).  Humans are the only reservoir of this virus.  The reason why humans are the only ones to receive this virus are because affects the human DNA.  One of the most interesting things about smallpox is that once you survive smallpox you will never get the disease ever again.  Of course in every disease, there has to be a causes and symptoms of a disease.  There are three stages that your body goes through when your body has this infection. 
"Syphilis is a complex sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum" (History).  The way a person can get syphilis is direct contact with the infected area such as external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum.  Also sores can appear on the lip or in the mouth.  One way that syphilis is diagnosed is through a blood test.
According to, there are four stages in syphilis:  primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary.  During the primary stage, the body is inflected.  This take about two to four weeks before the body starts to show signs of syphilis.  If left untreated, the sores will go away on their own in three to eight weeks.  Secondary stage occurs six to eight weeks after the sores start to disappear.  During this stage, symptoms such as headaches with a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat are appearing to the patient.  The latency stage is divided up into two parts called early and late stage.  In this stage there are not obvious symptoms, except for some vague discomforts and occasionally an eye disorder.  The early latent period begins immediately after when the symptoms of secondary disappear.  The late stage begins arbitrarily one to four years after the symptoms disappear.  According to fifty to seventy percent of patients in this stage live out the rest of their lives without the disease progressing to the infamous tertiary phase.  The four stages are where your body can not function any more.  However, your body is no longer infectious.



Works Cited-Definitions