Diagnosis of Smallpox
Before making a diagnosis of smallpox, your healthcare provider will consider other illnesses that can mimic the signs and symptoms of smallpox. These illnesses include chickenpox, monkeypox, and shingles. Your healthcare provider will also consider your medical history, physical exam, and test results before making a diagnosis.
In order to make a smallpox diagnosis, your doctor will ask a number of questions, including questions about:
- Current symptoms
- History of medical conditions
- Family history of medical conditions or illnesses
- Current medications.
Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms of smallpox. This will include a skin and mouth exam to look for the smallpox rash.
If there is a moderate or high suspicion of smallpox, the doctor may order certain lab tests, refer you to a dermatologist or infectious disease doctor, and/or call health authorities for their recommendations.
Before a smallpox diagnosis is made, your healthcare provider will consider other illnesses that can mimic the signs and symptoms of smallpox. Some of these illnesses include:
- Herpes zoster (also called shingles)
- Adverse reaction to medications
- Contact dermatitis
- Erythema multiforme
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease
- Molluscum contagiosum.