One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A mild form of smallpox; = variola minor. Now rare.
2More fully "whitepox virus". A virus isolated from monkey tissue, originally believed to be a new orthopoxvirus but later recognized to be smallpox virus present as a laboratory contaminant. Now historical.
3More fully "white pox disease". A disease of elkhorn coral characterized by stunted growth and death of polyps in localized areas (exposing the white limestone skeleton of the colony), occurring in waters polluted by sewage and caused by infection with the bacterium Serratia marcescens.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. From white + pox.
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