This loathsome and highly dangerous disease has ever been looked upon with the utmost horror. The earliest accounts we have of it, we find it making its appearance in Egypt and Arabia, about the middle of the sixth century. From these nations it gradually spread throughout the old world, in the thronged cities and villages, numbering its victims by thousands, and every where reaping a rich harvest. Wherever it appeared, the air seemed to bear on its wings its poisonous breath, and whole neighborhoods were desolated.

In 1517, twenty-five years after the discovery of this western world by Columbus, it was introduced on this continent. So fatal did it prove, that in a very short time after in reached Mexico, three millions and a half of people were destroyed in that nation alone. One of the most sad and melancholy scenes in its fearful, desolating march was the death of the emperor, the brother and successor of the brave but unfortunate Montezuma.

After a time it was found, that where the disease was communicated by inoculation, it was far less violent in its character, being attended with but little danger. Many persons in every community were therefore inoculated, so that instead of the disease decreasing, hundreds, even in country places, exposed to the contagion and not having guarded against it by inoculation, took it in its most violent form. In England the deaths by Small-Pox amounted to about 45,000 annually.

At length in 1798, Dr. Jenner, an English physician, announced to the world a discovery, which has been the means of saving thousands of lives, and has checked in a great measure the ravages, of what was then considered, one of the most loathsome scourges which had ever desolated the earth. That discovery was, that Cow-Pox is almost a sure preventive to the Small-Pox. This doctrine at first was received with ridicule, contempt and the most violent opposition; but what are ridicule and opposition to the stubborn array of facts, and the ultimate triumph of truth? But few years elapsed before the doctrines of Jenner, became universally popular, and vaccination for Cow-Pox was introduced into almost every nation. Careful observation has shown, however, that it is well to renew the vaccination every ten or fifteen years. With this precaution, there is but little danger of exposure to the Small-Pox.

Diagnosis

This disease has four distinct stages, each of which generally requires different remedies. .

1. The febrile stage. - This stage usually commences from eight to fourteen days after exposure to the contagion, and continues from two to four days. It sets in with shivering followed by fever, heat, and dryness of the skin, hard and frequent pulse, pain in the stomach and back, nausea and vomiting, aching in the bones, and bruised sensation of the flesh, swimming and severe pain in the head, and sometimes wild delirium and convulsions. Cough and sensitiveness of the eyes to light are also usually present. Vomiting and pain in the back are characteristic symptoms of Small-Pox, and when these are very severe, the pain in the small of the back exceedingly acute, and the vomiting extends into the eruptive stage, a severe attack may be apprehended.

2. The eruptive stage. - From the second to the fourth day the eruption makes its appearance in the face, in the form of small red points, increasing in extent and elevation from hour to hour, and distinguished from other eruptions by a small pimple about the size of a millet seed in each point. On the second day it appears on the hands, and on the third on the feet and the rest of the body.

3. The suppurative stage. - In this stage the pustule completes its development, becomes as large as a split pea, and is filled with a yellowish fluid, which gradually changes its color, until it assumes a turbid appearance. It is surrounded by a red circle, and has on the top a blackish depression or dent. As the pustules first appear on the face, and lastly on the extremities, they may have reached maturity in one part of the body, while they are still filling in another. During this stage, which lasts three or four days, fever, more or less swelling, and salivation are present.

4. The stage of Desiccation. - The pustules present on the top a brown appearance, and some of them burst, forming scabs. The fever and swelling gradually subside, the scales peel off, leaving at first a deep red stain. All danger is over, when the process of desiccation has ceased in the face.

The more violent, or confluent form of the disease, where the pustules are so numerous as to run into each other, forming an immence scab, is longer in duration, and attended with more violent symptoms and danger.

Treatment

During the sixteenth century and even later, in the treatment of this disease the great object was to expel the humor by means of perspiration. To accomplish this, the patient was confined in a hot room, dosed with hot drinks, and warmly covered in bed; notwithstanding under this treatment a majority of the patients died, when Sydenham introduced, what is now called the cooling regimen, throwing away the hot drinks, using light covering, keeping the patient cool, and having the room freely ventilated, he was attacked on all sides by the learning and bigotry of the age, but without avail, for reason and common-sense in the end are sure to triumph.

Febrile Stage

Aconite may be given every two or three hours; in alternation with Belladonna, if there is severe pain in the head, intolerance of light or delirium.

Should there be considerable stupor, two or three doses of Opium given at intervals of hours will produce relief.

Dose

Two drops, or eight globules in a tumbler full of water, a tablespoonful at a dose.

Bryonia and Rhus may be alternated two or three hours apart, if after four or five doses of the Aconite have been taken, there should be aching and bruised sensation in the bones and flesh, and severe pain in the back. Sometimes, where the fever is high, and the above symptoms exist, either Bry. or Rhus may be alternated with Aconite.

Dose

Same as Aconite, and continue until the eruption is fairly developed.

Stibium should be given, if nausea or vomiting is present.

Dose

A powder every hour until the nausea is relieved, or until three or four doses have been taken. If there is great restlessness and inability to sleep, a few doses of Coffea may be required, given at intervals of an hour, and prepared in the same manner as Aconite.

2. The Eruptive Stage. - During this stage I have found the most benefit from Stramonium, two or three drops in a tumbler of water, a tablespoonful every two, three, or four hours, according to the severity of the symptoms. It is particularly useful where the eruption is slow in its appearance and progress.

Should there be cough and indication of considerable trouble about the lungs, Stibium may be alternated with the Stramonium two hours apart.

Sometimes, where the pustules are filling well, and the disease is progressing rapidly, the Stramonium may be omitted, and Stibium and Thuja, (the latter prepared as directed for Aconite), given in alternation, three hours apart.

3. Suppurative Stage. - If there should be but little fever, a simple regimen alone will be required. If, however, an ulcerative fever is present, attended with abundant salivation, affection of the eyes, nose, and throat, Mercurius will be required.

Dose - A powder, or three globules, every three hours.

If the Pox become black, and typhoid symptoms set in, Muriatic acid may be given every two hours, or if considerable stupor is present, it may be alternated with Opium, two hours apart.

Dose

Three drops in a glass half full of water, a teaspoonful at a dose.

Rhus or Arsenic will be indicated, when the skin around the pustules is of a livid color, and burning thirst and great exhaustion are present. If diarrhoea should set in, China will be required.

Dose

Rhus and China, same as Aconite. Arsenic, same as Mer-cunus.

4. Stage of Desiccation. - Simple ablution with tepid water will generally be all that is required. A powder, or three globules of Sulphur, given morning and evening for three or four days, will frequently be serviceable. If as is sometimes the case, other diseases set in, see diseases under their separate heads.

Diet And Regimen

The room should be thoroughly ventilated, and kept at a moderate temperature. The patient should be placed on a mattress or straw-bed, be lightly covered and the room considerably darkened. The diet should be cooling, such as, water, lemonade, oranges, roasted apples, stewed prunes, strawberries, gruels, toast, etc, avoiding the lemonade and fruit, if diarrhoea should be present. Animal food should not be used in any form until the disease is pretty thoroughly over.