Smallpox is a highly contagious disease and at times it can be fatal. It caused by two types of viruses -- Variola major and Variola minor. It causes distinctive rash on the skin and this causes scarring. However, as of 1980, smallpox is considered eradicated after worldwide vaccination programs were adopted.
So, does smallpox leave scarring? Yes, it does. Before we understand why scarring occurs due to smallpox, let us first see how people used to get infected. Smallpox virus can be transmitted through airborne particles when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can also be transmitted via close skin contact, kissing or being exposed to infected clothing and items.
The disease first starts with high fever, head ache, body ache and vomiting. Then after two to three days a rash develops over the body and spreads. Soon the rash becomes into pus-filled blisters. In about 3 weeks time, the blisters break open, crust and fall off, leaving pitted scars all over the body. The smallpox scars are especially visible on the face.
After a person is exposed to smallpox, it takes around 7 to 17 days for the symptoms to first appear. During this period, the infected person is not contagious and feels perfectly normal.
Most infected people recover from smallpox but the mortality rate is as high as 30 percent. However, smallpox survivors have to live the rest of their lives with permanent pitted scars all over their body. If the rash is really bad, besides being scarred, a person can also go blind due to corneal scarring.
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