跨學科學英文/人類史上唯一根除的傳染病:天花

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

自古以來,人類一直在跟不同病毒帶來的大小疾病對抗,鼠疫(Plague)、狂犬病(Rabies)、嚴重急性呼吸道症候群(SARS)與天花(Smallpox)都是由病毒引起的傳染病,也都是衛生福利部疾病管制署認定為最嚴重的第一類法定傳染疾病。

然而,在所有傳染病當中,人類史上第一個、也是至今唯一一個完全根除的傳染病就是天花。在全人類努力對抗新冠病毒的今日,詩綺老師也希望透過回顧人類與天花對抗的歷史,從中學習智慧,找到經驗。

認識傳染病:天花

Smallpox is an acute infection caused by the variola virus, which causes varying degrees of health threat to humans. For centuries, epidemics affected people all over the globe, and the disease was often serious. The origin of smallpox is unknown. Smallpox is thought to date back to the Egyptian Empire around the 3rd century BCE (Before Common Era), based on a smallpox-like rash found on three mummies.

天花是由天花病毒(variola virus)引起的急性傳染病,可以對人類造成不同程度的危害。好幾世紀以來,這個流行病已經影響全世界,而且這個病通常很嚴重。天花的起源不明,一般認為可追溯至西元前三世紀的埃及帝國,從三具該時代的木乃伊身上發現天花皮疹的痕跡。

The fatality rate is up to 30%. Deaths often occur within one or two weeks after symptom onset. If someone becomes infected with smallpox, it may take anywhere from 7 to 17 days for symptoms to develop. At first a person may have flu-like symptoms such as high fever, tiredness, headaches, and backaches. Within 2 to 3 days after symptoms start, a rash develops that typically affects the face, legs, and arms. It starts with red marks that become filled with pus and crust over. Scabs develop and then fall off after about 3 to 4 weeks.

天花的致死率高達30%。病人會在發病後1或2周內死亡。若病人感染天花,會在7至17天內出現症狀。剛開始會出現類似流感的症狀,如高燒、疲倦、頭疼、背痛等。之後兩三天內,開始在臉部、腿部、手臂起疹子。疹子會從最開始的紅點,漸漸形成膿疱,然後結痂。痂皮需要約3到4周才會脫落乾淨。

與天花對抗:預防接種

Today, we don’t have to worry about smallpox thanks to the remarkable work of Edward Jenner and later developments from his endeavors. While still a medical student, Jenner had heard the tales that dairymaids were protected from smallpox naturally after having suffered from cowpox.

我們今日不再需要擔心天花,一切都得感謝英國醫師愛德華‧ 詹納(Edward Jenner)以及自他之後的後續努力成果。當詹納還是醫學院學生時,他就聽過一個民間傳說,說許多擠牛奶的女工只要曾感染牛痘(cowpox),就有天然保護力,比較不會感染天花。

Through his work as a country doctor Jenner came to understand that cowpox not only protected against smallpox but could be transmitted from one person to another as a deliberate mechanism of protection in order to protect them from the deadly disease.

透過鄉村行醫的經驗,詹納體悟到牛痘不只能對抗天花,而且還可以透過人傳人的方式,當作一種刻意的保護機制,來保護人類不會感染這致命的疾病。

In 1798, the results were published and the word vaccine—from the Latin “vacca”for cow— was coined. So Jenner named his treatment vaccination.

在1798年,實驗結果公諸於世,「疫苗」這個詞第一次出現—它的詞源是拉丁文的「vacca(母牛)」。詹納把他的治療技術稱為「vaccination」,也就是「預防接種」。

結語

詹納是全球首位提出「預防接種」概念的科學家,他對預防醫學的貢獻,使他被稱為「免疫學之父」(Father of Immunology)。而人類跟天花的對抗終於在1980年畫下成功的句點,該年度的世界衛生大會(World Health Assembly)正式宣佈天花病毒自地球上完全根除,根除天花(eradication of smallpox)因此被視為人類公共衛生史上最偉大的成就之一。現在所有專家也努力藉由前人智慧對抗病毒疫情,詩綺老師期許大家一起保持信念,堅持希望。

看圖片填入對應的英文句子

How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

(A) The body creates antibodies to fight the germs.
(B) If the actual disease germs ever attack the body, the antibodies return to destroy them.
(C) A weakened or killed form of the disease is injected into the body.

解答:1. (C), 2. (A), 3. (B)

文/吳詩綺
現職:國立師大附中英文科教師ETS 認證托福網路測驗專業發展工作坊講師
學歷:國立中央大學英美語文學系碩士
經歷:美國佛羅里達大學教育系訪問學者教育部行動研究特優教案得主

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