Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. It is characterized by fever, a general feeling of ill health (malaise), headaches and back pain. These initial symptoms are followed by a rash and small, raised bumps or lesions (pocks) within two or three days. Smallpox was a highly contagious disease, but was declared eradicated in 1980. However, recently smallpox has become of interest because of the possibility of its use as a weapon of warfare or of terrorism. There were two strains of smallpox, variola major and variola minor.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".
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