Skip to Content
Smallpox is a potentially deadly infection caused by the variola
virus. The infection causes severe illness, including a high fever, followed by a rash all over the body that looks like blisters.
Smallpox symptoms develop about 12 days after exposure. The disease
usually is not contagious until the rash first appears. As scabs form, the chance of
passing on the disease decreases.
Smallpox was a worldwide problem in the past. But because of a widespread
vaccination program, it was declared eradicated (no longer a naturally occurring
disease) by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980.
There may be
a risk that the smallpox virus could be stolen by people in order to
threaten or harm others.
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2016 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)