Wylie, Lawren September 1, 2008 SMALLPOX • unique to humans • caused by either of two virus variants named Variola major and Variola minor. Variola major = he severe and most common form of smallpox, with a more extensive rash and higher fever; mortality rate of about 30% • Transmission of smallpox occurs through inhalation of airborne variola virus— usually droplets expressed from the oral, nasal, or pharyngeal mucosa of an infected person. It is transmitted from one person to another primarily through prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person, usually within a distance of 6 feet, but can also be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects ( fomites ) such as bedding or clothing. • Smallpox is highly contagious, but generally spreads more slowly and less widely than some other viral diseases, perhaps because transmission requires close contact and occurs after the onset of the rash. • Infectivity wanes in 7 to 10 days when scabs form over the lesions, but the infected
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