Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Smallpox Overview

What is smallpox?
A person with smallpox has a life threatening viral infection that results in a rash. Smallpox is caused by the Variola virus. There have been no cases of smallpox since the worldwide vaccination program ended in 1977. In the past, about 30 percent of those who had smallpox died from the disease.

What are the symptoms of smallpox?
The main symptom of smallpox is a rash that begins in the mouth, and then spreads to the arms, hands, trunk and legs. Blisters and scabs form on the skin. Additional symptoms of smallpox include a high fever, headache, back pain, and muscle aches.

How does the doctor treat smallpox?
Treatment for smallpox may include antiviral medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever.

Continue to Smallpox Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Smallpox References
  1. Heymann DL. Smallpox containment updated: considerations for the 21st century. Int J Infect Dis. 2004 Oct;8 Suppl 2:S15-20. [15491871]
  2. Kerrod E, Geddes AM, Regan M, Leach S. Surveillance and control measures during smallpox outbreaks. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005 Feb;11(2):291-7. [15752449]
  3. Woods R, McCarthy T, Barry MA, Mahon B. Diagnosing smallpox: would you know it if you saw it? Biosecur Bioterror. 2004;2(3):157-63. [15588053]
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