(Duration: 7 to 17 days) Not contagious
Exposure to the virus is followed by an
incubation period during which people do not have any symptoms
and may feel fine. This incubation period averages about 12 to
14 days but can range hum 7 to 17 days. During this time, people
are not contagious.
Initial Symptoms: Prodrome
phase (Duration: 2 to 4 days) Sometimes
The first symptoms of smallpox
include fever, malaise, head and body aches, and sometimes vomiting. The fever
is usually high, in the range of 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time,
people are usually too sick to carry on their normal activities. Smallpox
may be contagious during the prodrome phase, but is most infectious during tie
first 7 to 10 days following rash onset.
about 4 days) Most contagious
A rash emerges first as small red
spots on the tongue and in the mouth. These spots develop into sores that break
open and spread large amounts of the virus into the mouth and throat. At this
time, the person becomes contagious. Around the time the sores in the mouth
break down, a rash appears on the skin, starting on the face and spreading to
the arms and legs and then to the hands and feet. Usually the rash spreads to
all parts of the body within 24 hours. As the rash appears, the fever usually
falls and the person may start to feel better. By the third day of the rash. it
becomes raised bumps. By the fourth day, the bumps fill with a thick, opaque
fluid and often have a depression in the center that looks like a bellybutton.
(This is a major distinguishing characteristic of smallpox.) Fever often will
rise again at this time and remain high until scabs form over the bumps.
about 5 days) Contagious
The bumps become pustules -- sharply
raised, usually round and firm to the touch as if there's a small round object
under the skin. People often say the bumps feel like BB pellets embedded in the
Pustules and Scabs
(Duration: about 5 days) Contagious
he pustules begin to form a crust
and then scab. By the end of the second week after the rash appears, most of the
sores have scabbed over.
(Duration: about 6 days) Contagious
The scabs begin to fall off, leaving
marks on the skin that eventually become pitted scars. Most scabs will have
fallen off three weeks after the rash appears. The person is contagious to
others until all of the scabs have fallen off.
contagious) - Scabs have fallen off. Person is no
This Before Getting the Smallpox Vaccine
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