Discoverers: Giovanni Filippo, Richard Morton, and William Heberden
Discovery Timeline: It is believed the name, chickenpox, has been used for centuries. Giovanni Filippo, who lived from 1510 to 1580 in Palermo, Italy was the first to describe chickenpox. Then, in the 1600s, Richard Morton, an English physician, diagnosed a mild form of smallpox as chickenpox because he misunderstood what chickenpox was. Finally, in 1767, William Heberden, also an English physician, was the first to clarify the difference between smallpox and chickenpox.
Place of Discovery: Italy and England
Varicella can be transmitted by touching or breathing in particles from an infected person's open blisters..
Varicella can also be transmitted through particle droplets in the air when infected people speak.
Chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the red, itchy rash is even visible and remains highly contagious until the blisters completely scab over 5-7 days later.
Treatment and Prevention
Prevention: In 1995, a vaccination became available that helps to build an immunity against chickenpox. Since then, many elementary schools in the United States require a chicken pox vaccination to enroll. However, the vaccination does not last forever. A second vaccination is given five years after the first.
Treatment: Because chickenpox is a viral infection rather than bacterial, there are no antibiotics to stop it. Chickenpox is treated at home. Treatment mostly reduces the fever and helps to stop the itching. Medicines like Ibuprofen lower the fever and antihistamine medication works to ease the itching
Benefits to Science
Since vaccination in 1995, hospitalization due to the virus Varicella has gone down 90%, saving families and hospitals everywhere billions of dollars each year. In extreme cases, chickenpox can cause brain swelling, stroke, pneumonia, and even death but with a vaccine, these are easily prevented. Much of the research from the development of this vaccine was the building block for other vaccines, and is still allowing more to be developed even today!
"Chickenpox (Varicella)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., 28 June 2016. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/>.
"Chickenpox." New World Encyclopedia., 2 Apr. 2008. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Chickenpox>.
"Chickenpox." The New York Times., 22 June 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/chickenpox/possible-complications.html>.