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Historical Snapshot Video

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What is Smallpox?

Smallpox is a life-threatening infectious disease primarily affecting humans. Most people contract the virus via human-to-human contact. Other possible transmissions may include contact with scabs, or tissue from an infected person. 

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The first symptom of smallpox is a fever, followed by the skin lesions that eventually affect most of the body. As seen in this image of a mother and child, small pox has a devastating affect on the skin, which is the largest organ in the human body. Survivors can be pock-scarred from the severity of the skin lesions.​

In some cases bone lesions occur in tandem with smallpox. These lesions are known in medical terms as osteomyelitis variolosa. Osteomyelitis variolosa is a complication of smallpox variola virus and is most commonly found occurring in children up until the time of puberty when the bones mature and harden. 

The lesions will begin on the inside of the bone near the metaphysis or the growth plate, and can push the bone outwards obliterating the structure as the graphic shows. 

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Bone Lesions
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