Smallpox is a highly contagious disease that is often lethal. Smallpox is a virus transmitted through droplets escaping from the mouth and nose of an infected smallpox victim. Those droplets are then inhaled by another person. The first signs of smallpox are high fever, back and muscle pain, and sometimes vomiting. Then a few days later smallpox will mark it's spot with a rash on the face, palms, and bottoms of feet. Within the next week or so the rash sprouts into pustular (puss-filled) pimples. The pimples will run together only in extreme cases, indicating fatal infection of the virus. There is no treatment for smallpox. The only way to prevent getting the disease is by getting a vaccination. Today, vaccinations are no longer given out since the disease has been eliminated.
When the fever and related symptoms revisit you, you have reached the second stage of smallpox. During this time the pustules may become infected by bacteria. Then the pustules become crusted and will leave scars. When the fever goes down, this means you are getting better.
Smallpox survivors may suffer blindness but
the good news is that they will have long term immunity to the disease. In 1967, the United Nations
World Health Organization (WHO) started a global vaccination campaign against
smallpox. During this time, ten-fifteen million suffered from this disease each year, with over two million deaths. By 1975, most all of the world was free of smallpox. The next death from smallpox was
in 1979, when an English woman died from working with the virus in a laboratory.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
99 "Smallpox." (October-November 2003).
Bernstein, Joanne E. and Paul Cohen. Dizzy Doctor Riddles. Niles, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company. 1989.
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