DiagnosisIn order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions and 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 the person to a dermatologist or infectious disease doctor, and/or call health authorities for their recommendations.
Before a diagnosis is made, the doctor will also consider other illnesses that can share similar signs and symptoms with smallpox. Some of these illnesses can include:
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Contact dermatitis
- Erythema multiforme
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease
- Adverse reaction to medications
- Molluscum contagiousum.
(Click Diagnosis of Smallpox for more details on how the condition is diagnosed.)
There are currently no proven treatments that can kill the smallpox virus. Therefore, treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus. This is called supportive care.
(Click Treatments for Smallpox for more information on this topic.)
If smallpox were to return, prevention would include:
- Vaccination with the smallpox vaccine
- Certain health authority measures.
(Click Prevention Against Smallpox to learn more about this topic.)