What does smallpox look like?
• Fatal hemorrhagic
smallpox in a twelve-
year-old girl, 1970s,
Bangladesh. Here, the
eyes are filled with
blood, and blood
blisters form in the
mouth and inside the
Symptoms of smallpox
• 7-17 days: infected • Not contagious
person feels fine
• Day 17+ fever 101- • Person is too sick to
104, tiredness, head carry on their normal
and body aches, activities.
Smallpox in Illinois
• Rash, red spots on • Within 24 hours, rash
tongue and in mouth. spreads to all parts of
Later, rash starts on the body.
face, arms, legs,
hands, and feet. • Pustules crust and
• Rash becomes raised scab. Within three
“pustules” as if an weeks, the scabs will
object were under the fall off.
More pictures of the outbreak
How is it transmitted?
• When a person in the middle days of
infection breathes out, the air passes over
the pustules in the mouth, the virus becomes
airborne. Anyone who comes in contact
with that water vapor could then be
• If the virus is in blankets or bedding shared,
it is easily spread to others.
Difference between smallpox and
• Chicken pox tends to
break out near the torso
and trunk of the body.
• Smallpox, after the first 12
days, expand to outer
extremities more. See
hands and feet to the left.
Why is smallpox fatal?
• People can survive after contracting
smallpox. The statistics vary depending on
the type and severity of the cases.
variola major =severe hemorrhaging
-30% fatality rate
variola minor= ordinary, not as severe
-1% fatality rate
Why is it fatal?
• Patients die from smallpox due to secondary
– Fever and vomiting cause dehydration
– Pustules become infected
– Weakness from fever and lack of energy
The first vaccinations
the Tribal Messenger - smallpox
• As a result of vaccination, the last outbreak in the
US was in 1949.
• The last known natural case was in Somalia in
1977. Since then, the only known cases were
caused by a laboratory accident in 1978 in
Birmingham, England, which killed one person
and caused a limited outbreak. Smallpox was
officially declared eradicated in 1979.
Why Smallpox is a concern.
• Because smallpox was wiped out many
years ago, a case of smallpox today would
be the result of an intentional act.
Where is the virus today?
• The virus is kept in two approved labs in the U.S.
and Moscow, Russia. Some believe after the fall
of the Soviet Union, South Korea and Iraq may
have acquired some of the virus.
• Concern exists today that the virus was made into
a weapon by some countries and that terrorists
may have obtained it.