Skip to main content


URMC / Encyclopedia / Content

How Much Do You Know About Smallpox?

Smallpox was once found throughout the world, causing illness and death wherever it occurred. Smallpox was mainly a disease of children and young adults, with family members often infecting each other. A large program by the World Health Organization got rid of all known smallpox viruses from the world in 1977. Although the disease no longer exists, samples of the virus that caused smallpox were saved by a few governments for research purposes. This research is highly controlled and carefully monitored.

1. Smallpox is caused by:
2. Smallpox is spread through close contact with a person who has symptoms of the disease. When is a person with smallpox the most infectious?
3. Because there are currently no cases of smallpox anywhere in the world, what would be considered an outbreak?
4. Which symptom of smallpox infection shows up first?
5. In the past, smallpox was often confused with which other illness?
6. What trace of smallpox often remains after the infection ends?
7. How is smallpox treated?
8. If a person is diagnosed with smallpox, the person should be:
9. A vaccine can prevent smallpox. How often is it given?
10. How is the vaccine given?

Medical Reviewers:

  • Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
  • Lentnek, Arnold, MD, FACP