from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A mild contagious skin disease of cattle, usually affecting the udder, that is caused by a virus and characterized by the eruption of a pustular rash. When the virus is transmitted to humans, as by vaccination, it can confer immunity to smallpox. Also called vaccinia.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A pustular, eruptive skin disease of cattle caused by an Orthopoxvirus, with lesions occurring principally on the udder and teats. Human infection may occur from touching cows, and gives immunity to smallpox.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A pustular eruptive disease of the cow, which, when communicated to the human system, as by vaccination, protects from the smallpox; vaccinia; -- called also kinepox, cowpock, and kinepock.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A vaccine disease which appears on the teats of a cow, in the form of vesicles of a blue color, approaching to livid.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a viral disease of cattle causing a mild skin disease affecting the udder; formerly used to inoculate humans against smallpox
There was another disease, called cowpox, often contracted by dairy workers.
The disease becomes modified when transferred to cattle, producing what is known as cowpox, in which vesicles similar to those of smallpox appear on the skin.
Now there is a disease of cows know as cowpox or vaccinia (from the Latin vacca, a cow) which is communicable to human beings.
The germ of cowpox, which is believed to be either the cow or horse variety of human smallpox, is cultivated upon healthy calves.
When Jenner introduced inoculation with "cowpox" for the purpose of establishing "immunity" in the vaccinated person, inoculation with smallpox itself was a very usual practice.
The vaccinia ( "cowpox") virus was used in the first inoculations against smallpox, and is still the basis for current vaccines.
A German physician, Dr. Cruwell, who studied the subject thoroughly, says: "Every vaccination with so-called cowpox virus means syphilitic infection.
The relative safety of the cowpox vaccine also made state-sponsored immunization drives more appealing.
If cowpox-induced antibodies protected against smallpox—and if cowpox could be transferred directly from person to person—an all-powerful weapon against one of the most ruthless killers in history was suddenly at hand.
Edward Jenner was the first to realize that because of their exposure to cowpox, milkmaids were immune when smallpox outbreaks occurred.