cowpox

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cowpox,

infectious disease of cows caused by a virus related to the virus of smallpox. Also called variola, it is characterized by pustular lesions on the teats and udder. Cowpox is transmitted by contact, inducing a mild infection of the hands in persons who milk infected cows. The fact that such persons had immunity to smallpox led Edward JennerJenner, Edward,
1749–1823, English physician; pupil of John Hunter. His invaluable experiments beginning in 1796 with the vaccination of eight-year-old James Phipps proved that cowpox provided immunity against smallpox.
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 to attempt vaccinationvaccination,
means of producing immunity against pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, by the introduction of live, killed, or altered antigens that stimulate the body to produce antibodies against more dangerous forms.
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 with this virus, instead of using the dangerous method of vaccinating with material from the sores of smallpox. Jenner's method was successful and is the basis of the modern vaccination against smallpox. Horses and sheep may contract a similar disease.

cowpox

[′kau̇‚päks]
(veterinary medicine)

cowpox

a contagious viral disease of cows characterized by vesicles on the skin, esp on the teats and udder. Inoculation of humans with this virus provides temporary immunity to smallpox. It can be transmitted to other species, esp cats