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Small Pox - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Summary about Small Pox

History is brimming with the wrath smallpox wrecked on the human race. It was counted as the deadliest disease humans have ever encountered. It used to claim millions of lives worldwide each year. Smallpox is a highly contagious viral disease. It is also known as variola. Luckily due to extensive vaccination against this disease, it has been now completely eradicated. Due to the absence of this virus now this vaccine is not administered because it can be toxic. Only people who are at high risk are recommended to receive this vaccine.
It is known that it used to start with flu-like symptoms after an incubation period of 7-17 days.

Symptoms of Small Pox

Smallpox has an incubation period of 7-17 days during which affected individual faces ni symptoms. After this initial incubation time, symptoms like flu appear and these are accompanied by:

  • High-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Body ache
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Headache
     These symptoms subsided within 2-3 days and person would feel better only to get affected with a rash. This rash spreads over all main parts of the body. After two days these transform to fluid and pus-filled abscesses that break open and scab. These scabs eventually fall off leaving marks. During this entire time period, the affected person can spread disease.

Causes of Small Pox

Smallpox is an airborne disease caused by the variola virus. It is highly contagious and it can spread by:

  • Sharing air space
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sharing bedding and clothes of an affected person
  • Use of other contaminated items

Risk Factors of Small Pox

Biggest risk factor associated with smallpox is re-emergence of this disease. Because vaccination for this infection is no more in practice if this disease resurfaces it can be a threat to humanity. It can reappear due to some planned terrorist activity, due to mishandling of viruses kept for research purposes and due to negative effects of human activities on the natural ecosystem.

Preventive Measures of Small Pox

Smallpox was prevented by the use of a vaccine. Due to the eradication of this disease, it is not administered to the population anymore.

Types of Small Pox

There are two types of smallpox.

  1. Variola minor:

This is a less common and less intense form of smallpox. It is reported that only 1% of people affected by this type of smallpox died.

2- Variola major:

History tells us that 30% of people affected by this type of disease passed away. 90% of cases of smallpox were recognized to be of this type.

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