Readers ask: What is smallpox?

What is smallpox caused by?

Smallpox is caused by infection with the variola virus. The disease is spread through person to person contact, most often from inhalation of droplet nuclei expelled through the back of the throat (oropharynx) of an infected person.

How does smallpox kill?

The cause of death from smallpox is not clear, but the infection is now known to involve multiple organs. Circulating immune complexes, overwhelming viremia, or an uncontrolled immune response may be contributing factors. In early hemorrhagic smallpox, death occurs suddenly about six days after the fever develops.

What exactly is smallpox?

Smallpox is a disease caused by a poxvirus that is transmitted from person to person that causes high fever, characteristic rash, and may kill about one-third of those infected. Smallpox (also called variola ) is the only disease that has been completely wiped out throughout the world.

Does smallpox still exist?

Currently, there is no evidence of naturally occurring smallpox transmission anywhere in the world. Although a worldwide immunization program eradicated smallpox disease decades ago, small quantities of smallpox virus officially still exist in two research laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia, and in Russia.

Is chickenpox related to smallpox?

Chickenpox is the most important disease likely to be confused with smallpox. It is caused by a different virus. In smallpox, fever is present for 2 to 4 days before the rash begins, while with chickenpox, fever and rash develop at the same time.

How long did smallpox last?

Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases. Smallpox has existed for at least 3000 years and was one of the world’s most feared diseases until it was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination programme led by the World Health Organization.

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Who cured smallpox?

Edward Jenner (Figure ​1) is well known around the world for his innovative contribution to immunization and the ultimate eradication of smallpox (2).

What is black smallpox?

: a highly fatal form of smallpox characterized by cutaneous hemorrhages.

How many did smallpox kill?

Smallpox killed some 300 million people worldwide in the 20th century before it was eradicated in 1977. Today the biggest threat from smallpox comes from its possible use as a bioterrorism agent.

What cures smallpox?

Antiviral Drugs In July 2018, the FDA approved tecovirimat (TPOXX) for treatment of smallpox. In laboratory tests, tecovirimat has been shown to stop the growth of the virus that causes smallpox and to be effective in treating animals that had diseases similar to smallpox.

What animal did smallpox come from?

Smallpox is an acute, contagious disease caused by the variola virus, a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, in the Poxviridae family (see the image below). Virologists have speculated that it evolved from an African rodent poxvirus 10 millennia ago.

Are we immune to smallpox?

Immunity to smallpox is believed to rest on the development of neutralizing antibodies, levels of which decline five to 10 years after vaccination. This has never been satisfactorily determined, though.

When did smallpox become a pandemic?

The Smallpox Pandemic of 1870-1874.

Was smallpox a pandemic or epidemic?

Cholera, bubonic plague, smallpox, and influenza are some of the most brutal killers in human history. And outbreaks of these diseases across international borders, are properly defined as pandemic, especially smallpox, which throughout history, has killed between 300-500 million people in its 12,000 year existence.

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