smallpox: causes, diagnosis, treatment, vaccination

how to prevent smallpox

Ways you can prevent smallpox

Smallpox is the most dreaded of all infectious disease, and one of the most contagious. When smallpox is epidemic, not more than one or two out of every one hundred unvaccinated persons in the community are likely to escape the disease. Though it has been proven to be prevented at the early stage between 1 to 4 days of contracting the virus.  It attacks old and young, male and female. From of old, there has been no disease that has been more feared by the people In every land than smallpox, for not only it is contagious, but also extremely virulent. When it afflicts the unvaccinated the death rate ranges from 10 to 80%. In case the one afflicted escapes death, he is almost certain to be disfigured for life with pork’s mark on the face or to be blind in one or two eyes.


Smallpox is caused by a very stable virus which may remain alive for months under favorable circumstances, particularly in a very dry environment. It may remain on the floor or on the walls of a house for months and infect persons coming in contact with the room. The crust and scales are very infectious. The bed sheets carry the virus to the laundry. It may also be carried in the air of the sick-room or be transmitted by letters written from the sick room.  No age or sex is immune, and aboriginal peoples seem especially vulnerable.


The diagnosis is made by noting the toxicity of the individual, which is greater than in cases of chicken-pox. He becomes restless and irritable. He has a headache with vomiting and prostration. His temperature soars to 103 degrees to 104 degrees F, the pulse and respiration are rapid. The lesions in smallpox are especially noted on the face, the palms, and the feet, and are all formed in one stage of development. This is in contrast with chicken-pox, where the lesions are formed gradually, going through various stages and all are being located more on the trunk of the body. There are different strains of smallpox, varying from comparatively mild to very severe. This accounts for the variance of the mortality rate, ranging from 10 to 60 or even 80 percent.

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There is no specific treatment. The patient should be kept as comfortable as possible. The first thing is to set up a rigid quarantine of the case, permitting only one or two to attend to the patient. Those who care for him should always wear a special gown. Upon leaving his room they should remove and leave all the clothing hanging just inside the door. The local health authorities should be informed and the best medical help in the area should be engaged. Bed-covers should be kept off the skin with suitable cradles. The moth should be cleansed with antiseptic mouth-washes. One teaspoonful of salt in a pint in warm water makes a good mouthwash. Sedatives such as Phenobarbital should be used to quiet the patient, and at times morphine may also be used to ease the pain.

During the time when pustules develop, terramycin or penicillin may be given to prevent secondary infection. If one of the lesions becomes septic, some penicillin or preferably bacitracin ointment should be applied. No other local treatment is necessary.


The only way to prevent smallpox is to have a vaccination every three years.

Previously to the history of smallpox in 1996, there was no method known by which smallpox could be cured; neither was there any method known by which the disease could be prevented. But in that year in English physician by the name of Edward Jenner discovered the method of vaccination as a means of protection against smallpox.

The microorganism that produces smallpox in man also produces a similar disease in the cow called cowpox. The lymph used in vaccinating is obtained from a calf afflicted with cowpox. It is injected into the body of a man and a vaccination eruption results at the point of vaccination. The procedure is accompanied by some fever throughout the whole body. Following this, the person is protected for a long or shorter period against smallpox even though he may directly expose.

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From the time that Jenner discovered vaccination against smallpox many countries have adopted this preventive method on a national basis, with the result that they have been a great decrease in the number of people who have died of smallpox during the past hundred years, for example, Germany in 1874 passed a law making vaccination and re-vaccination compulsory. This law requires the vaccination of all infants before they are twelve (12) months old and revaccination at the age of twelve years. Since that year there has been no record of the smallpox epidemic in Germany.

All countries where vaccinations are done have the same success, so much so that many countries today are free from this contagious disease.

Vaccination with the lymph from cowpox is the only absolute preventive against smallpox. It is the duty of every father and mother to have each child (whether male or female) vaccinated before it is a year old and to have it re-vaccinated every three years.

Bottom line

To wrap this up smallpox disease is a deadly disease that keeps the sufferer uncomfortable during the sickness. And there has been no recorded treatment for smallpox but it can be prevented through only vaccinating every infant at a tender of age of twelve months and also at the age of twelve years in other to eradicate it completely.

About the author

Okoh Kenneth

A blogger with the good and and sole intentions to help millions of people out there to get the solutions to their health problems faster.

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