Essay On Smallpox

1060 Words 5 Pages
Small Pox
The Disease
Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease. It was one of the world 's most devastating diseases known to humanity. Three of out ten individuals infected with smallpox died. Many survivors have permanent scars, often on their faces, or were left blind. Experts fear bioterrorists could use the virus to spread disease. The pox part of 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. Smallpox is transmitted from person to person via infective droplets during close contact with infected symptomatic people. There are two clinical forms of smallpox. Variola major is the severe and most common form of smallpox,
…show more content…
The smallpox vaccine, introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796, was the first successful vaccine to be developed. If given to a person before exposure to the virus, the vaccine can protect them. Vaccination within 3 days after exposure may prevent or greatly lessen the severity of smallpox in most people. Vaccination 4 to 7 days after exposure likely offers some protection from disease or may decrease the severity of the disease. Vaccination will not protect smallpox patients who already have a rash. Currently, the smallpox vaccine is not available to the public. However, there is enough smallpox vaccine stockpiled to vaccinate every person in the United States in the event of a smallpox emergency. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant within four weeks after vaccination should not get the smallpox vaccine. In addition, anyone who has a close contact who is pregnant should not get the vaccine (close contacts include anyone living in your household and anyone you have close, physical contact with such as a sex partner or someone you share a bed with). The vaccine can cause a very rare but serious complication in the fetus called fetal vaccinia (less than 50 cases of fetal vaccinia have ever occurred). However, most babies born after smallpox vaccine exposure will be fine. Women who are breastfeeding should not get the vaccine. This advice is true even if women are pumping and then bottle-feeding breast milk. It is unknown whether the vaccine virus or antibodies pass on to the baby through breast milk. The smallpox vaccine prevents smallpox. For most people, it is safe and effective. Most people experience normal, typically mild reactions to the vaccine, which indicate that it is beginning to work. Some people may experience reactions that may require medical attention. These reactions usually go away without

Related Documents

Related Topics