The disease, which was widely spread several centuries ago, is now extremely rare.
A few months ago, as the BBC reports, the doctors at Countess of Chester Hospital in Wales delivered a 15-year-old teenager whose arms and legs were covered with a rash, a rather unusual diagnosis – cowpox. Across the country, such a disease has not been seen for more than a decade, although only a few centuries ago it was quite widespread. In addition, this disease played an important role for one of the most significant discoveries in the history of medicine.
The word “vaccine” comes from the Latin word vacca, meaning a cow, or, more precisely, from the word vaccinia (Latin “cowpox”). In the 18th century, the English physician Edward Jenner noticed that cowpox, often found among thrush, made them less prone to another, much more dangerous disease – a smallpox. In 1796, Jenner first applied vaccine against smallpox, obtained from vesicles on the arm of a patient with cowpox.
A modern British teenager, according to the BBC, was infected with cowpox, apparently when he fed several calves. (This, by the way, is even more unfortunate than it may seem at first glance – since, despite the name, cowpox is most often picked up from cats and rodents.) The boy later developed festering rashes on his arms and legs; First he was examined by a family doctor and then immediately sent to the hospital Countess of Chester Hospital, where he was diagnosed accurately.
According to Robert Smith, a specialist from the Countess of Chester Hospital, cowpox has not been registered in Wales for the last 10-15 years. From 1975 to 1992 As reported by Smith, 29 cases were recorded.