What is Smallpox?

Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease caused by a virus called the variola virus. The disease gets its name from the Latin word for spotted and refers to the small pus-filled blisters that appear on the face and body of an infected person.

Diagnosis and relativity of smallpox

Diagnosis: Smallpox can be diagnosed based on the patient's clinical signs and symptoms. The disease can be definitively diagnosed by isolation of the virus from the blood or lesions.

Relativity: Since the disease was eradicated in 1979, the relativity of this disease is unknown because of the inconsistent results that would occur in different people.

The course of smallpox...

You receive smallpox by just breathing the virus, the varliola virus,, in and out. The cells get into your throat lining and "explode", forcing the cells to multiply. After a week, you begin to run a high fever. Then comes the red, itchy spots that form into blisters. After another week, the blisters dry and turn into scabs. After a month, the scabs fall off. Leaving nothing but deep pits in the skin. Since the "exploding" cells are on the inside of your body, you are slowly dying from the inside out. Once you are dead, the disease doesn't stop there. Blood carries the virus. So your clothes or anything you have touched could have become infected.

Possible complications and target audience of smallpox

Some possible complications of smallpox are that there are no cures for smallpox. Other complications could include:
  • Arthritis and bone infections
  • Bacterial infections at the skin at the sites of the lesions
  • Brain inflammation
  • Death
  • Eye infections
  • Pitted scars from pustules
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe bleeding

Target Audience: Humans

Edward Jenner and smallpox