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1. What is smallpox?
Smallpox is an infectious disease of viral origin that has completely been eliminated globally in 1980 with vaccination.
2. What is the causative agent of smallpox?
Variola, a virus having two variants - Variola major and Variola minor - is the causative agent of smallpox. With vaccination, the infection has been completely eradicated.
3. How is smallpox different from chickenpox?
Chickenpox is also a viral disease like smallpox but has a different causative agent and slightly different symptoms compared to smallpox. In smallpox, pocks appear on the skin in several stages instead of one, fever occurs at the time of the development of the rash rather than at the start and very few deaths are associated with it.
4. What is the treatment for smallpox?
Smallpox did not have any treatment available. Some antiviral drugs may help prevent worsening of the condition. In case of an outbreak, vaccination is the main measure that would be employed to prevent the further spread of the disease.
5. Can a person who ever had chickenpox can also have smallpox?
Chickenpox and smallpox are caused by different viruses, and hence a person who has been previously infected with chickenpox may have smallpox as well. Since smallpox has been eradicated, it is no longer possible to contract it regardless of being infected with chickenpox.