Small Pox: Overview

The variola virus, which only affects humans, is responsible for smallpox. The variola virus has been eliminated thanks to a careful immunization program. Smallpox is a potentially fatal infection spread through human contact and is highly infectious. It is often spread by direct touch with an infected person or through contact with the fluids from a patient's rash. The best way to avoid smallpox is to get vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure because a report suggests that 30% of smallpox cases are fatal.


Usually, 17 days after the variola virus infection, symptoms start to show. Following the incubation period, the general symptoms listed below emerge.

A few days later, the body develops flat, red patches, which could begin on the tongue and mouth before moving to the skin. Most frequently, the face, arms, and legs are affected first, then the torso, hands, and feet.

Many spots develop into little blisters filled with clear fluid within a day. Later, pus begins to fill the blisters. 8 to 9 days later, scabs develop and finally break off, leaving behind deep, pitted scars. When the rash appears and during the period after the scabs break off, smallpox can be spread from one person to another.

When To See A Doctor?

Call the doctor immediately to explore potential treatment options if you've been exposed to smallpox or believe that you might have it. The doctor will instruct you to remain in isolation to avoid contact with others and work with you to schedule a vaccination and treatment.


The variola virus causes smallpox. The virus comes in two different forms. Variola major, a more virulent variant driving smallpox disease, leads to fatality in over 30% of those who caught it. A less lethal variant of Variola minor harmed 1% of people who contracted it. Hemorrhagic and malignant smallpox were more destructive than the usual strain.

Adults, especially pregnant women, were more frequently affected by hemorrhagic smallpox than children. People experienced more severe symptoms, including fever, discomfort, headaches, and bleeding from their blisters and mucosal membranes. Blood poisoning typically was fatal within a week.

Children more often than adults often develop malignant smallpox. People had flat lesions that blended on the skin's surface rather than raised blisters. Blood poisoning also claimed most of those who contracted this kind of smallpox.

Risk Factors

Smallpox has been declared eradicated. However, a person is in danger of contracting smallpox if they come into touch with the variola virus or an infectious smallpox carrier. In particular, those who deal with the variola virus run the danger of contracting smallpox; as a precaution, these individuals are often immunized. It is also thought that the variola virus may be utilized as a bioterrorist weapon.


Smallpox can be more dangerous and even fatal if you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system.

Many people who recovered from smallpox also had permanent scars and perhaps even considerable deformity from losing nasal or facial tissue. Eye infections and other issues arise because sores frequently develop on and around the eyes. People occasionally lose their vision.

While the smallpox vaccine is quite efficient in preventing the disease, it is also known to have a variety of side effects, which can vary from minor ones like stiffness and a mild fever to dangerous ones like infections of the heart or brain. In addition to causing male infertility, smallpox can result in a woman's miscarriage or stillbirth.


Since there are no proven cures for smallpox, vaccination is considered the most effective method of disease prevention. To eradicate smallpox worldwide, the WHO used the smallpox vaccine created by Edward Jenner in 1796.

First-generation vaccinations are those used in eradication campaigns, and these vaccines were produced using the lymph or skin of the animals that had been immunized. The second and third generations of vaccinations are created after or following eradication operations, and these were made utilizing contemporary cell culture techniques.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Rashes are a sign of numerous conditions. However, the likelihood of smallpox in a person with a rash is relatively low. The following are the main smallpox diagnostic criteria:

  • A fever of at least 101 degrees F accompanied by at least one additional symptom, such as severe weakness, a headache, a backache, chills, vomiting, or terrible stomach pain, one to four days before the onset of a rash.
  • On any one part of the body, lesions that are in the same stage of development

Someone likely has smallpox if they fit the above description. Minor diagnostic criteria comprise:

  • A rash where the face and extremities are most commonly affected by lesions
  • Lesions that first appear in the mouth or on the face or forearms
  • Extreme illness
  • Rash that gradually transforms into different forms
  • Scars on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands

A diagnosis of smallpox can be confirmed by laboratory testing, while other possible diagnoses, such as chicken pox, can be ruled out.


For smallpox infections, there is no standard method of treatment. Until now, the primary forms of treating the illness have been intensive immunization to stop epidemics and supportive therapy to lessen infection symptoms. If an epidemic were to happen, it is more possible that health organizations would focus on administering the vaccine to stop the infection from spreading once again rather than trying to do so by using antiviral drugs. However, these would be used in a supporting role to ease some symptoms.

Dos and Don’ts

Smallpox treatment in the past focused on relieving symptoms and controlling the disease by isolating the patient until all scabs had fallen off. But in recent years, scientists have created smallpox antiviral drugs even if smallpox had been eradicated long ago. There is no need to worry about contracting this illness from others. A smallpox bioterrorist attack might expose individuals to the virus; however, it is improbable. However, even if a disease outbreak occurs, below preventative measures can help treat the condition.

Do’s Don’ts
Monitor the symptoms if you suspect the condition Get in contact with healthy individuals if you have the condition
Eat a healthy balanced diet Eat spicy and oily foods
Take vaccines as scheduled by your doctor Self medicate without consulting the doctor
Isolate yourself to avoid spreading the infection Pop the lesions
Drink plenty of fluids Scratch the lesions

Once the patient is no longer contagious, a doctor will help with treatment for managing aesthetic scars and making suggestions for treating any vision problems caused by the infection.

Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the best group of general physicians who collaborate to provide the most effective smallpox treatment. Our highly qualified staff treats a number of diseases using the most up-to-date tools, techniques, and technology. Our doctors closely monitor each patient's condition and treatment response for SmallPox in order to ensure a quick and complete recovery.


Make an appointment just in few minutes - Call Us Now

Whats app Health Packages Book an Appointment Second Opinion