Smallpox

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Muscle Rigidity
  • Shivering
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Rash, Which Develops into Pustular Lesions
Smallpox was a systemic viral disease that generally presented with a characteristic skin eruption. Onset was sudden, with fever, malaise, headache, prostration, severe backache, and occasional abdominal pain and vomiting - a clinical picture that resembled influenza. After 2 to 4 days, the fever began to fall and a deepseated rash developed in which individual lesions containing infectious virus progressed through successive stages of macules, papules, vesicles, pustules, and crusted scabs, which fell off after 3 to 4 weeks. The lesions were first evident on the face and extremities and subsequently on the trunk. Two epidemiologic types of smallpox were recognized during the twentieth century: variola minor (alastrim), which had a case-fatality rate of less than 1 percent, and variola major (ordinary) with a fatality rate among unvaccinated populations of 20 to 40 percent or more. Fatalities normally occurred in 5 to 7 days, occasionally as late as the second week.
Clinical manifestations begin acutely with malaise, fever, rigors, vomiting, headache, and backache. Two to 3 days later, lesions appear which quickly progress from macules to papules, and eventually to pustular vesicles. They are more abundant on the extremities and face, and develop synchronously.
Find more information on this substance at: PubChem, PubMed