I always thought that the "pox viruses"
are the largest and most complex viruses known for
centuries. The characteristic "pocks" produced by
variola virus (Smallpox) gave their name to
all forms of infectious disease "a dose of the
pox". Smallpox first appeared in China and the Far
East at least 2000 years ago: The Pharaoh
Ramses V died of smallpox in 1157 B.C. The
disease reached Europe in 710 A.D. and was
transferred to America by Hernando Cortez in 1520
- 3.5 million Aztecs died in the next 2 years.
In the cities of 18th century Europe, smallpox
reached plague proportions and was a feared
scourge - highly infectious. Five reigning
European monarchs died from smallpox during the
I suggest to visit the following site for
viruses and history of virology.
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