Caption: Variola virus, the cause of smallpox (DNA virus, Family Poxviridae). Smallpox virus, also known by the Latin name Variola virus, is highly infectious. Smallpox is caused by either of two virus variants named Variola major and Variola minor. V. major, the deadlier form, has a mortality rate of 25-35%. The virus characteristically causes a severe skin rash, high fever and often death. The attack on skin cells causes the characteristic pimples and pustules associated with the disease. Some symptoms of smallpox are high fever, fatigue, severe headache, malaise, diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive bleeding. Smallpox is transmitted primarily through social contact or direct contact with infected body fluids / contaminated objects. Edward Jenner produced the smallpox vaccine using cowpox fluid. The practice of vaccination against smallpox spread quickly in Europe and then to North America. The last case of wild smallpox occurred on October 26, 1977. Smallpox was considered eradicated in the 1970's by WHO based on efforts of the global vaccination program. After the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, concerns about smallpox have resurfaced as a possible agent for bioterrorism.
Magnification*: x19,815
Type: TEM
Copyright 2007 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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