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Word Count: 435
The Disease Smallpox is a serious contagious and sometimes fatal infectious disease There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease and the only prevention is vaccination The name smallpox is derived from the Latin word for spotted and refers to the raised bumps that appear on the face and body of an infected person There are two clinical forms of smallpox Variola major is the severe and most common form of smallpox with a more extensive rash and higher fever There are four types of variola major smallpox ordinary the most frequent type accounting for 90 or more of cases modified mild and occurring in previously vaccinated persons flat and hemorrhagic both rare and very severe Historically variola major has an overall fatality rate of about 30 however flat and hemorrhagic smallpox usually are fatal Variola minor is a less common presentation of smallpox and a much less severe disease with death rates historically of 1 or less Smallpox outbreaks have occurred from time to time for thousands of years but the disease is now eradicated after a successful worldwide vaccination program The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949 The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977 After the disease was eliminated from the world routine vaccination against smallpox among the general public was stopped because it was no longer necessary for prevention Where Smallpox Comes From Smallpox is caused by the variola virus that emerged in human populations thousands of years ago Except for laboratory stockpiles the variola virus has been eliminated However in the aftermath of the events of September and October 2001 there is heightened concern that the variola virus might be used as an agent of bioterrorism For this reason the US government is taking precautions for dealing with a smallpox outbreak Transmission Generally direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact is required to spread smallpox from one person to another Smallpox
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