- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Pictures Slideshow
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Smallpox facts
- What is smallpox?
- What is the history of smallpox?
- What causes smallpox?
- How is smallpox transmitted?
- What are smallpox symptoms and signs?
- How is smallpox diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for smallpox?
- Can smallpox be prevented with a vaccine?
- What is the prognosis for smallpox, and what are complications of smallpox?
- Where can people find more information on smallpox?
What is the prognosis for smallpox, and what are complications of smallpox?
Approximately one-third of people with smallpox died. Those who survived bore the scars of the disease for life. If the eye was infected, blindness was common. In the 19th century, smallpox was the leading cause of childhood blindness. It is possible that experimental medications will decrease complications and mortality rates, but this cannot be tested since human disease no longer exists. However, if the disease was reintroduced to humans (for example, by bioterrorists or other individuals), some investigators suggest the death rate may exceed one-third of the population and debilitate and scar many of those people that survive the disease.
Where can people find more information on smallpox?
The CDC web site (http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/index.asp) is an excellent source of information on smallpox. It provides comprehensive information on the disease and the vaccine.
Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease
McFadden, G. "Killing a Killer: What Next for Smallpox?" PLoS Pathog 6.1 Jan. 29, 2010: e1000727.