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Episode 2 Winners 1997

solution: smallpox

Click on a name to see their explanations below.

Individual Winners

John Chibbaro
Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest
grade: 12

Kelly Younge
Mayo High School
grade: 12

Tammie Sprott
Pine Tree
grade: 9

Peter Austin Duchan
Staples High School
grade: 9

Mariangela Lisanti
Staples High School
grade: 9



Remember, if you are not on this list but you did get the answer right, there are still many chances to win. We are choosing someone, from all the correct answers from all 3 episodes, to be awarded an individual grand prize of $250. The more correct answers, the better your chances. Find out at the end to see if you are the winner of the individual grand prize: $250!

Individual entry prizes include Genentech posters, T-shirts and bookmarks. We'll be in touch with you guys to award your prizes.

Classroom Winners

Ms Sams Period 3
John P. Stevens
grade: 10

Elliott's 9-10th grade Biology Honors class
Mayo High School
grade: 9th/10th

Period 7 Human Biology Class
Presque Isle (Maine) High School
grade: 11th and 12th

Ms. Sams Period 1
John P. Stevens High School
grade: 10

Period 5 Human Biology Class
Presque Isle High School
grade: 11th and 12th


Remember, if you are not on this list but you did get the answer right, there are still many chances to win. We are choosing a class, from all the classes with correct answers from all 3 episodes, to be awarded a classroom grand prize of $1,000. The more correct answers, the better your chances. Find out at the end to see if your classroom is the winner of the classroom grand prize: $1,000!

Classroom entry prizes include a Genentech T-shirt, mousepad and poster and a class set of "DNA Fingerprint" bookmarks. We'll be in touch with you guys to award your prizes.

Explanations

John Chibbaro
Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest
grade: 12
explanation: All of the subjects display common symptoms of smallpox. Plus, Mr. Yates, a man previously infected
as he already had a pockmarked face) was chosen to care for the people in the tent. Some who died in the tent were buried, yet the four without graves were burned, a common practice to eliminate dead smallpox victims.

Kelly Younge
Mayo High School grade: 9
explanation: The reason that I suspect the disease was smallpox is that
1) Sarah Byers was examined by the doctor (forearms) and therefore had already had small pox and then let into the quarantine tent, (2) Yates had the "pock marked" face so he was a "logical" first choice to help with Mr. Harper,
3) Mr. Tabot came down with a fever after exchanging garments with a man who had died from fever.
small pox is spread by contact with clothing) The Four Without Graves are Harper, Mother, Smith and Carlotto because they were all burned and not buried. The only person we know anything about is Harper, because Perditta's diary says that Mr. Yates was an obvious choice to go into the quarantine with Harper, most likely because he had already had Small Pox
pock marked face) So! We know that Harper had Small Pox and there fore, we assume that the rest of the people also had it because there were no distinguishing differences mention in their symtoms. About Mr. Pierce: Mr. Pierce was not included in this mystery most likely because he had some other disease than Small Pox because his disease unknown to the Center for Disease and Prevention and he was getting well from it. Since mother got sick and there was no evidence she had had Small Pox, and Yates and Sarah didn't get sick and they had had Small Pox, the only choice for disease is Small Pox. The reason I think it's not the plague is because Sarah Byers and Yates didn't show any signs of it.

Tammie Sprott
Pine Tree
grade: 9
explanation: It must have been an acute contagios disease, or the people would not have died so quickly from being arround each other. All of the people that died from it were in contact with each other and each other's belongings. They all had a high fever which abated fairly quickly. Everyone who got it died. This was before 1895, so they would not have been vacinated yet. It could not have been plague because there were no rats mentioned, and fleas cannot live that far north. It could not have been lead poisening because lead poisoning is not contageous. It could not have been Antimony poisoning, because the people administering the medicine would not have contracted the disease. It was most likely not cowpox, for cowpox is usually not deadly. It was most likely not botulism, because it is not contageous.

Peter Austin Duchan
Staples High School
grade: 9
explanation: I think my answer is correct for many reasons. First of all, in Perdita's journal, she mentions that many gifts were given at Christmas. Smallpox can be contracted by coming in contact with someone who has this diseases belongings. Sarah Byers gave a pair of gloves to Mr. Yates, who got pocks all over his face. Then he was placed in the care of the quarentine tent and then Sarah wanted to join him and her only ticket in were the pocks covering her forearms--also a symptom of smallpox. Tabot also took the blankets of one who had alledgedly died of a fever--another symptom of smallpox. Tabot now came in contact with the virus. Mr. Dermot also gave away many coats. Also, one man had a high fever that went away and this is a symptom of the smallpox. This disease is also still in existence, though it is contained in vials in deep freeze.

Mariangela Lisanti
Staples High School
grade: 9
explanation: The evidence indicates that smallpox was the reason that the four without graves died. The first condition of smallpox is a very high fever, and all of the four people had this symptom. The fever is supposed to go away before one gets rashes. Harper had had this fever pattern, as directly stated in the doctor's and Perdita's diaries, before getting the rashes. The sentence, "...Horror today written on the face of poor Mr. Harper..." proves that this seaman did get the rashes. Perdita could not talk to her mother when the wind blew because smallpox is very contagious and it was thought that the wind spread the germs. The purpose of the cloth that Perdita's mother wore over her face was to hide the rash caused by smallpox.
This rash begins in the face and later progresses to the chest, arms, and legs.) One knows that Mr. Yates had had smallpox becasue Perdita describes his, "...pockmarked face..." Obviously, the disease had been within the camp before, and!! it could have easily spread being that it is a contagious viral disease. Lastly, there was a debate as to whether Mr. Yates or Mr. Jakkelson should be sent into the quarantine camp. Mr. Yates had had smallpox, and Mr. Jakkelson had been inoculated with cowpox. Because both these men were immune to the disease and could both go into the quarentine camp, some of the people in the quarantine camp were obviously infected with this disease. As one can see, the evidence indicates that the four that died without graves were infected with smallpox.

Ms Sams Period 3
John P. Stevens
grade: 10
explanation: Our class does not think it is lead poisoning because we had found no apparent symptoms that may indicate it to be lead poisoning. We believe it is not botulism because no one in the quarentine tent had been parylized, and most probably the people in the tent were suffering from the same disease as the people who had already died. We do not think it is antimony poisoning because the disease did not spread through contact. It wasn't cowpox because they did not have any cattle nor was it a fatal disease. It wasn't the pneumonic plague because a rash is not one of the symptoms. We think it could be smallpox because it is a fatal disease, they had pock marks on there face, it is a highly contagious disease, there were empty bottles of James Powder in the trash and a fever is one of the symptoms. And finally, because Sarah and Mr. Yates had the pock marks on there bodies.

Elliott's 9-10th grade Biology Honors class
Mayo High School
grade: 9th/10th
explanation: They all died of smallpox. Mr. Tabot had garments from a previous man who had died of the fever. Sarah Byers had marks on her forearms, showing that she had had cowpox before and therefore was immune to smallpox. Mr. Yates was the "obvious" choice to go into quarantine with Mr. Harper because he had already had smallpox, evident by his pockmarked face. Mr. Harper, therefore, must have had smallpox. We don't know much about Mr. Carlotto and Mr. Smith, but we do know that Mr. Pierce had a disease unknown to the Center for Disease and Prevention. If Pierce had had smallpox, the Center for Disease and Prevention would have recognized it. Perdita's mother covered her face when she spoke with Perdita, mimicking pnuemonic plague, but then Mr. Yates and Ms. Byers would have shown symptoms of the plague. The lead and mercury levels in the samples were from Jakkelson handing out medications everyday and the poorly soldered tin cans. They burned the bodies to prevent further disease.

Period 7 Human Biology Class
Presque Isle (Maine) High School
grade: 11th and 12th
explanation: All indications point to smallpox as the killer of the "four without graves." Their bodies were burned, indicating that they probably had something contagious. That would narrow it to cowpox, smallpox, plague and possibly an unknown disease. Cowpox is not generally fatal. The victims did not show the symptoms of the extremely contagious disease, pneumonic plague. And this disease probably would have affected many more than the four. An unknown disease, apparently originating from the meteorite, seems unlikely as some in the tent where the meteorite was kept did not have any disease. This leaves smallpox as the most likely cause. Yates and Byers, who were taking care of the victims in the quarantine tent, had pock marks on their bodies, indicating a probable immunity to smallpox. Lead and antimony poisoning were ruled out because the levels in the dead that were tested were not in toxic amounts. Botulism wasn't the cause of death because the ashes provided evidence that they cooked their food which would have destroyed the toxin.

Ms. Sams Period 1
John P. Stevens High School
grade: 10
explanation: Smallpox - highly contageous, gifts exchanged could have carried disease, Mr. Yates had pocked face and thought he should care for ill. Mother covered face - pimples start on face.

NOT:
Antimony - No vomiting or scaley skin
Botulism - Did not have paralysis
Lead - Not high enough to be fatal
Cowpox - Not fatal
Pneumonic Plague - spread through air - everyone would have been exposed and become ill.

Period 5 Human Biology Class
Presque Isle High School
grade: 11th and 12th
explanation: The victims could not have died from lead or antimony poisoning since the tests showed the level in their bodies was nowhere near a fatal amount. Botulism is impossible because they had fire available to heat their canned food and this would destroy the toxin. Cowpox is a threat to those who milk cows and there were no cows around. The plague is not the cause because it is highly contafious and many more would have had it. Smallpox is the cause of the deaths. Sarah and Yates were allowed to take care of those in the quarantine tent because they were immune to smallpox. Yates had a pockmarked face and Sarah was allowed to go into the tent after her arms were examined. They must have shown evidence of pock marks, too.

Go to Episode Three




An Access Excellence Science Mystery sponsored by Genentech, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Genentech, Inc.; all rights reserved.


 
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