Smallpox is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Smallpox virus has been eradicated worldwide through successful vaccination and treatment programs, and now exists only as a stored virus in a few research centers. Symptoms include a severe rash that leaves scars, fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.
Review Date 4/14/2021
Updated by: Elika Hoss, MD, Senior Associate Consultant, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.