Smallpox is an extremely contagious disease, which is caused by the deadly virus called Variola. This contagious disease came into existence since 10,000 BC. In 1980, this syndrome was declared as completely eradicated after the global immunization campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the help of the smallpox vaccine. The first effective vaccine to be discovered was the smallpox one as it was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner. The last symptoms of this infectious disease were found in the year 1977.

Smallpox – An Extremely Contagious Disease

Smallpox is a contagious disease, which transmits from one person to another by infective droplets of an infected person. There is no treatment found for this contagious disease but could be prevented through the vaccinations.

Variola- The Smallpox Virus

The variola virus has two forms namely the  Variola minor and Variola major.  Variola virus, is a deadly virus, being a member of the orthopoxvirus family. The structure of this virus resembles that of brick ones and the core of the virus is made up of a genetic material DNA which resembles a dumbbell in shape. The DNA in the core comprises necessary proteins, which are required to replicate the host’s cell. The incubation period for this disease is about 17 days, which later results in severe fever with the appearance of rashes on the face, legs, hands, arms, etc.

Causes of Smallpox

Smallpox is an airborne disease that spreads at a faster rate and is mainly caused by an infection of a deadly type of virus variola.

  1. It transmits through the droplets released from coughing, sneezing, and face to face contact with an infected person.
  2. This infection is also transmitted by sharing drinks, exchange of body fluids like blood transfusion and etc.
  3. Caused by even touching any contaminated area.
  4. By using unclean syringes or the used ones.

Symptoms of Smallpox

Usually, after the infection of the variola virus, the symptoms occur after 17 days. Below Listed  general symptoms are seen after the incubation period

  1. High fever followed with chills.
  2. Vomiting or nausea.
  3. A severe headache, followed by other body pains.
  4. Development of rashes, filled with pus or fluid on the face, legs, hands, arms, etc.

Treatment for Smallpox

Since it is a deadly disease, there is no such cure available for this syndrome. It could be still prevented by vaccinating with the smallpox vaccine. This vaccine helps in preventing the disease from illness and causing fatal conditions to humans. The antibodies present in this vaccine protects the body from invading and to destroy the virus.

To learn more about smallpox and other related topics, visit BYJU’S Biology.

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