If an outbreak of smallpox were to occur today, it's likely that most doctors wouldn't realize what it was in its early stages, which would allow the disease to spread.
Even one confirmed case of smallpox would be considered an international health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can do definitive testing using a tissue sample taken from one of the lesions on the skin of the infected person.
Aug. 16, 2014
- Friedman HM, et al. The epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of smallpox. http://www/uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 11, 2014.
- Hall JB, et al., eds. Principles of Critical Care. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2005. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=361&Sectionid=39866430. Accessed June 11, 2014.
- What you should know about a smallpox outbreak. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/basics/outbreak.asp. Accessed June 12, 2014.
- Smallpox. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/smallpox/faq/en/#. Accessed June 15, 2014.
- Questions and answers about smallpox disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/faq/smallpox_disease.asp. Accessed June 12, 2014.