What is Small pox

Smallpox is a deadly virus that has existed for centuries.  When people caught smallpox, they became ill with fever and chills, and then erupted in a painful rash that left unsightly scars. Small Pox was known to have killed a lot of people, and was particularly prevalent in the 1700 – 1800, until the introduction of the cowpox inoculation (by Edward Jenner in 1796) and the development of a vaccine against smallpox. Learn more about what is small pox here. What is Small Pox

small poxSymptoms of smallpox

Small Pox begins as a nonspecific viral illness with symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, exhaustion, headaches and back pain approximately 2 weeks after exposure.  The incubation period of the small pox virus varies from 7 to 17 days.  A characteristic rash then develops mainly in the face (and inside the mouth), arms and legs for 2-3 days after onset of fever.  The rash starts as flat red spots then turn into blisters and pustules over the next week.  These pustules are deeply embedded in the skin and are firm, round and painful.  Two or three weeks later the scabs and scars heal .

Small Pox patients are most infectious during the first week of the outbreak.  At that time, patients have mouth ulcers.  These wounds release smallpox virus in the saliva of the patient.  The virus can spread through the air when an infected person breathes, speaks, laughs or sneezes.  A patient is most contagious when all scabs have fallen off, usually around 3 or 4 weeks after onset of rash.

How is smallpox diagnosed

Health professionals trained to diagnose smallpox can only be recognized as a typical presentation, without laboratory testing.  WHO and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has had much experience with outbreaks of smallpox, and has much useful information to distinguish smallpox from chickenpox and other viruses.  In case of confusion or final confirmation of smallpox, the samples are sent to a laboratory courses and highly specialized for the identification of electron microscopy.

Death can occur in 30% of patients who have never been vaccinated.  Survivors are often left with disfiguring scars large blisters of smallpox.

Small Pox Cure

Unfortunately there is no cure for smallpox.  We can prevent the disease by vaccinating before they are exposed to the virus.  If exposed to the small pox virus, a person should get active immunization against the disease within four days, this can prevent or reduce the severity of smallpox infection.  The current research focuses on the search for new antiviral drugs to treat smallpox once infected with smallpox virus.

How smallpox spread?

Small pox is mainly spread from person to person through droplets of infected saliva, especially in the first week of illness.  They are contagious from the moment a person begins to experience symptoms until all scabs of smallpox cure Small pox is very contagious, so if you’ve had exposure to small pox, you would need  quarantine of some sort.

Although not as common, smallpox can be spread through contact with contaminated clothing or linens.  Therefore, the bedding and clothing should be decontaminated by washing with hot water and bleach.  Contaminated surfaces can be cleaned with bleach or ammonia.

Stopping Small Pox

The isolation and vaccination is our first line of defence against the spread of smallpox.  Because of its highly contagious nature and the fact that there is no treatment for smallpox, it is important that the disease is caught in the early stages that we can avoid infecting others.  Patients who are medically ill will need to be isolated.  People who have had close contact with those affected will be vaccinated, monitored closely having fever (above 101 ° C) and quarantined if symptoms occur.

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