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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is smallpox?
Smallpox is a disease caused by a virus. The virus is passed through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread through direct contact with an item that has the virus on it.
What are the signs and symptoms of smallpox?
- Severe tiredness
- Headache and backache
- Red, flat rash
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea
How is smallpox diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose smallpox based on your symptoms and physical exam. He or she may also take a tissue sample from your rash and send it to a lab for tests.
How is smallpox treated?
No medicine will get rid of the smallpox infection. Your healthcare provider will treat your symptoms. You may be given IV liquids to help prevent dehydration. You may need medicine to decrease pain and lower your fever. You may also need antibiotics if you develop a bacterial infection. You can get the smallpox vaccine up to 4 days after you are exposed to the virus. This may prevent a severe infection.
What should I do if I am exposed to smallpox?
Exposure to smallpox is considered a medical emergency. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you think you have been exposed. You may be isolated in the hospital. You may receive the smallpox vaccine. Anyone who has been in direct contact with you may also need the vaccine. Your healthcare provider will call your local health agency to notify them of your infection.
Where can I find more information about smallpox?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta , GA 30333
Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov
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Learn more about Smallpox
Symptoms and treatments
Mayo Clinic Reference
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