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Wednesday May 24, 2017
Smallpox & Smallpox Research
Smallpox & Smallpox Research

Small pox is a disease caused by a virus. It is highly contagious, and often life threatening. Between the 18th and 20th century, small pox caused a lot of deaths. Finally after extensive vaccinations in the 19th and 20th century by WHO, smallpox was declared to be irradicated in 1979. It is the only human disease to have been completely irradicated.

However, many people believe that Smallpox may be used in the future for biological warfare or terrorism, and it is essential for us to know about this disease.

 


 

Spread

Small pox is spread through droplets in the infected person's saliva. It is spread by coughing, talking or sneezing. Small pox is also spread by close face to face contact with an infected person. It can also be spread through clothing, or other objects that have come in contact with the body fluids of the infected person.

Symptoms
Rash : It is characterized by a raised pink rash filled with fluid. This eventually becomes crusty and falls off.
Fever: Fever greater than 101 degree F is often seen.
Myalgia: Fatigue and muscle pain
Headache
Diahorrhea and Vomiting is caused by the involvement of the digestive tract


Types

Ordinary: the pustules stand out on the skin.The symptoms are described above.
Modified: Seen in people who have been previously vaccinated. It is a very mild form and patients do not have fever
Malignant: it is usually fatal. The lesions are flat and seem to be buried in the skin.
Hemorrhagic: This type is associated with excessive bleeding and this can also cause death.


Complications:

Small pox can also result in many medical complications which have lifelong implications. Some of them are described below.

  • Blindness and eye complications
  • Limb deformities
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis


Diagnosis

Correct diagnosis is very essensial in smallpox. Diagnosis is done usually through taking history, and observing clinical signs. High fever and rash indicate that it may be small pox. Laboratory tests like PCR and ELISA can also be used to diagnose smallpox. Platelet count and WBC count can also give information about the type of smallpox and its severity.

Treatment

The smallpox vaccine itself is used for treatment. If given early, it can shorten the duration or severity of the illness. Antibiotics are also often used for treatment

Prevention

A Vaccine for small pox has been developed. This vaccine should be given to all those around the infected person to prevent further spread of the disease. The infected person should also be kept isolated, as much as possible. If a case is seen, it must be handled at a national level and emergency measures must be taken to safeguard the general population.

Latest research:

Small pox is being researched even today. Scientists are using the smallpox virus to learn more about viruses and how they work. The study of small pox has also given a lot of insight to how the body's immune system works.

Large amounts of small pox vaccine are being produced, in case of a biological war. Safer and better vaccines are also being researched and developed.

 
Online Resources

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