Filed under: Infectious Diseases
Smallpox is a contagious, disfiguring and often deadly disease that has affected humans for thousands of years. Naturally occurring smallpox was eradicated worldwide by 1980 — the result of an unprecedented global immunization campaign.
Stockpiles of smallpox virus have been kept for research purposes. This has led to concerns that smallpox could someday be used as a biological warfare agent.
There's no treatment or cure for smallpox. A vaccine can prevent smallpox, but the risk of the vaccine's side effects is too high to currently justify routine vaccination for people at low risk of exposure to the smallpox virus.
Want to know more about this article or other health related issues? Ask your question and we'll post some each week for CNN.com reader to discuss or for our experts to weight in.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|