What is smallpox?

Smallpox is an infectious disease. It can be fatal in severe cases. It has been eradicated worldwide. The last case in the U.S. was in 1949 and the last case in the world was in 1977. Vaccines are no longer given, because they are no longer necessary for prevention. smallpox

How is smallpox treated and prevented?

There is no specific way to treat smallpox. Smallpox is prevented through the smallpox vaccine, which is available if necessary. However, vaccines are no longer routinely provided.

What causes smallpox?

Smallpox is caused by the variola virus. The virus has been eliminated, although there is a concern that variola could be used as an act of bioterrorism.  The U.S. government is planning for a smallpox outbreak.

How is smallpox transmitted?

Smallpox is usually transmitted with prolonged person-to-person contact. Sharing personal items or coming into contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids can spread smallpox.

What are the symptoms of smallpox?

  • Fever
  • Head and body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Rash – raised, pus-filled bumps that crust, scab, and leave a scar

For more information on smallpox, click here.