Smallpox

Report Confirmed or Suspect Cases Immediately to the Local Health Department.

Smallpox is a serious, sometimes fatal disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person through direct contact. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, body aches, followed by a rash that progresses to pus-filled blisters that scab and fall off leaving a pitted scar. A majority of people with smallpox recover, but death may occur in up to 30% of cases. Many survivors have permanent scars and some are left blind. In 1980, due to vaccination programs, smallpox was declared eliminated from the world, and there have been no cases since 1977. There is the concern that virus saved in government laboratories around the world, or potentially created using genetic manipulation, could be used as a biological weapon.

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Last Reviewed: 5/10/2017