Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Chicken Pox
Name: Mike
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Why is the virus entitled Chicken Pox when it is contracted by humans? How did Chicken Pox get its name? If cows can contract a virus entitled cow pox, why is Chicken Pox Chicken Pox?



Replies:
Hi!

The reason is exactly that: because there is a chicken disease called "chicken pox"...even "our " chicken pox isn't caused by the same virus...

see, pox diseases are a complex of viral diseases in domestic animals and men, marked mainly by eruptions of the skin and mucous membranes. So there is for example: smallpox (men), sheep pox, rabbit pox, horse pox, fowl pox, cow pox, mouse pox, and so on...

Pox virus are the group of viruses responsible for small pox in humans and a wide range of pox diseases in animals. Chicken pox in humans is also called varicella and is caused by a herpes virus.

Thanks for asking NEWTON!

Mabel
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)


What's in a name? That which the English call Chicken Pox, the Dutch call Water Pox and the Germans call them Wind Pox. The official medical term is 'varicella' which means 'little pox' I think the names illustrate that people could only guess where the disease came from. We don't get it from chickens, but the virus does survive in little drops of water, that are carried by the air. So the Dutch and Germans were closer to the truth than the English.

Dr. Trudy Wassenaar



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory