Smallpox is a contagious, disfiguring and often deadly disease that has affected humans for thousands of years. Naturally occurring smallpox was eradicated worldwide by 1980 the result of an unprecedented global immunization campaign.
Samples of smallpox virus have been kept for research purposes. This has led to concerns that smallpox could someday be used as a biological warfare agent.
No cure or treatment for smallpox exists. A vaccine can prevent smallpox, but the risk of the vaccine's side effects is too high to justify routine vaccination for people at low risk of exposure to the smallpox virus.
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.