Variola major virus was the cause of smallpox. It allegedly killed a lot of people over the years. The outbreak of smallpox was last checked by Worldwide Immunization, thirty years back as the last case of smallpox had been reported in the year 1977.
There are two research labs that still have the Smallpox virus. Here are some more interesting facts about the smallpox.
The name smallpox finds its origin in a Latin word which means ‘œspotted.’ It indicates the red big sores that can be found on the body and face of the infected person.
For the transmission of smallpox, a prolonged direct contact is necessary with the person who is already contaminated. It can also be transferred through body fluids or infected articles like clothes, bedding linen sanitary equipments. It is hardly airborne.
It has symptoms like that of a flu patient- fatigue, backache, headache, high fever rashes with flat red sores.
Variola major, the most common form of the disease has mainly four major types which are- ordinary, the most common and frequent one and is present in 90% of the cases; flat, which is very rare and causes severe attack; modified, which is not that dangerous and is found in persons who have been vaccinated earlier and finally hemorrhagic, very uncommon and can cause massive harm to the patient.
Variola minor is a lesser popular form of smallpox. It is not as severe as smallpox with very less to almost negligible death rate.
Small pox has an overall fatality rate of 30%. Mostly the flat and hemorrhagic cause serious effect.
No proper treatment of smallpox was discovered. Medicines and proper fluid when injected would provide relief from pain or high fever. Most of the patients recovered but some of them eventually died. Even after recovery, the patients had innumerable scars all over.
A successful vaccination all over the world has helped to eradicate the disease. In U.S the disease was last seen in the year 1949. Routine vaccination was stopped among regular public once the disease was last found in the year 1977.
The routine vaccination for smallpox was stopped by U.S in the year 1972. Still the vaccine is continued by the military and some high-ranked officers. The vaccine also made a patient suffer hence doctors recommended it to the ones at high risk.
The Variola virus hasn’t infected any other components of nature other than humans. Insects and animals have nothing to do with smallpox. In the pre-phase the smallpox may spread through fever but it is mostly effective when rashes occur.
It is an international fear because bio-terrorist can use the viruses to spread the disease. Even though extinct, Variola virus is still found in laboratory stocks. The events of September and October 2001 have made scientists give a second thought about the fact that Variola might be a strong agent for bio-terrorism.
The infected person was considered sick until the last scab of smallpox is peeled off the body. In the mean time he is not expected to socialize or move about freely in the locality.