The Basics of Smallpox

The virus that causes smallpox is highly contagious and can be transmitted from person to person. It can also be spread through the air by droplets and contaminated objects. The risks of contracting smallpox are very low. A person who has experienced it will probably experience it again. But the risk is low, and the disease is no longer a major threat. The risks of acquiring smallpox are low, as long as people get vaccinations in time.

The virus begins to spread throughout the body, through the lungs, and through the blood to the skin

In the early stages of smallpox infection, the skin is covered with small, red bumps that are often deformed. The rash will spread to the arms, legs, and torso. It may also appear on the palms and soles. The virus begins to spread through the body, starting in the lungs and spreading through the bloodstream to the skin. In most cases, pustules and macules develop twelve to seventeen days after infection. These bumps will be filled with thick fluid or pus. Scabs will form over the pustules and fall off in three weeks. A scar will remain from the infection.


When the rash appears, the virus begins to multiply. The rash will start on the face and spread to arms, hands, and feet. The rash will spread throughout the body in 24 hours. The first day after the rash appears, the fever will be gone. The second day, the rash will change into raised bumps that contain dark, opaque fluid. The center of the bumps will have a depression. This depression is a distinguishing feature of smallpox.

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