Role of Smallpox Vaccine in the Prevention and Treatment of Variola major and Variola minor

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Role of Smallpox Vaccine in the Prevention and Treatment of Variola major and Variola minor

Smallpox has claimed the lives of many ever since the Middle Ages. However, it has now been eradicated due in part to a very effective vaccine. The vaccine has saved the lives of thousands and has eradicated the disease in the history of man kind. This miracle vaccine can greatly diminish the effects variola and even stop the disease from becoming fatal. The vaccine is also the only known way to fight the smallpox, and until an antiviral agent is found, it will be humanity’s only defense against this deadly and devastating disease.

The pathogenic virus Variola causes the well-known and often deadly virus smallpox. Smallpox has been eradicated for about 25 years, mostly on the part of a successful vaccine. As mentioned earlier, Variola is a virus. There are three forms of the virus that are most prominent: variola, variola hemorrhagica, and varioloid. (2) All these viruses are classified as the cause of smallpox though simulate different symptoms. Any individual with any of these viruses can either have variola major or variola minor. Variola major is the more severe form of smallpox. (2) Unvaccinated patients diagnosed with variola major have a 30-50% fatality rate, while if the same patients had variola minor, they would have a 1-2% chance of death. (3) In vaccinated patients, only 3% of people diagnosed with variola major die. With a few exceptions, no vaccinated patients with the minor form of the disease have died.

Smallpox is characterized by a series of symptoms. These symptoms will first occur within 7-17 days after exposure to the virus. (3) The symptoms may include fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting or severe muscles ac...

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... may have been one of the most influential vaccines ever developed. Its role in the prevention of smallpox has been great.

Role of Smallpox Vaccine…5


1. Center for Disease Control. (2004, December). Smallpox Disease Overview. Center for Disease Control. Date retrieved: July 12, 2005:

2. Thomas, R. (1907). Variola. The Eclectic Practice of Medicine. Date retrieved: July 21, 2005:

3. Utah Department of Health: Bureau of Epidemiology. (2002). Smallpox (Variola). Smallpox (Variola). Date retrieved: July 21, 2005: file:///X|/Epidemiology/ELS_old/epidemiology/epifacts/smallpox.html

4. World health Organization. Smallpox. World Health Org. Date retrieved: July 21, 2005:
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