History of Chickenpox

Most people are not going to remember the first time they heard about chicken pox because it has been a common childhood illness for many generations. History shows that chicken pox may have been around since Babylonian times. The first time that chicken pox was identified was by a Persian scientist commonly known as Razi and Giovanni Filippo provided additional chicken pox information.

In the early days of chicken pox, the infection easily spread and there were many complications until medical advancements provided better treatment, infected people were isolated, and vaccines become readily available.

The Beginning

There was a description of an affliction similar to chicken pox more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Babylonia. In the late 800'ís early 900's AD, Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi, also known as Razi, recorded some of the first known information on chicken pox and noted the differences between measles and small pox. Later in the 1500's Giovanni Filippo was able to give a more detailed description of chicken pox.

The Discovery of Being Contagious

Studies were done in 1875 by Rudolf Steiner, which proved that a chicken pox infection was contagious. The fluid from a chicken pox blister was rubbed on the skin of healthy volunteers and when the volunteers got chicken pox, the scientists knew it was contagious.

Von Bokay suggested the connection between shingles and chicken pox in 1909. It wasnít until the 1920ís/1930ís that studies confirmed the connection when children inoculated with zoster vesicles (shingles virus) came down with chicken pox.

Beginning of Treatment

In the beginning chicken pox was simply treated by treating the symptoms and isolating the patient. Sometimes there were serious complications, that at times led to death, before modern medicine was available to treat severe symptoms like high fever and the spread of the virus in the body.

Presently, a healthy person is allowed to let the virus run its course with medication to relieve the discomfort of the symptoms. In people at risk, there is varicella zoster immunoglobulin (VZIG) that can be administered after exposure.

Chicken Pox and Small Pox

At the beginning, chicken pox was thought to be a mild version of small pox. An English Physician, Richard Morton thought this disease was a mild small pox infection.

In 1767, another English physician, William Heberden, became the first person to show that small pox and chicken pox were different illnesses and found that once infected with the chicken pox virus, a person remained immune.

During chicken pox history, it has gone from a serious disease to a manageable one due to modern medicine being able to reduce the risks of this infection.

How Long Is Chicken Pox Contagious?

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