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  • Smallpox

  • Smallpox, also known as variola, was a dreaded disease at beginning of the last century. It has been eradicated and only exists for research purposes. The disease, which is caused by a virus, is highly contagious. Children and young adults were most at risk for the disease.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms of smallpox often become severe and include:

    • a raised, pink, spreading skin rash
    • fever
    • headache and backache
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • excessive bleeding

    Treatment

    In the first week of the disease treatment with antibodies against a similar disease or a smallpox vaccination can help minimize symptoms. 

    Prevention

    There is a vaccine against smallpox, but because the disease was eradicated it is not readily available.  If you suspect you have symptoms of smallpox, see a physician immediately, but keep in mind that your symptoms most likely relate to a different condition.