Back to Top Skip to main content

Smallpox

DoD Smallpox Vaccination Program Resource Center

Questions and Answers about Smallpox and Smallpox Vaccine

SmallpoxSmallpox disease had a mortality rate of approximately 30 percent, and because of a successful vaccination program it was declared globally eradicated in 1980. Naturally occurring smallpox was highly contagious, and was transmitted from an infected person to a susceptible (unvaccinated) person by close contact with respiratory secretions and/or infected skin. When smallpox disease was circulating, the only known reservoir for the virus was humans.

Once infected, a person usually has no symptoms and is not contagious during the incubation period, which ranges from 7-17 days.  Symptoms then begin with high fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. This may last 2-4 days, and then the rash develops. The rash first appears on the oral mucosa, face, and forearms, then spreads to the trunk and legs. A person is most infectious during the first week of the rash and is no longer infectious after all scabs have separated, usually 3-4 weeks after onset.

There is currently one smallpox vaccine licensed in the United States, ACAM2000, and is given in a pre-event setting only to select, designated groups including certain members of the U.S. military. The smallpox vaccine is administered in a single dose by the percutaneous route (scarification) using 15 jabs with a stainless steel bifurcated needle that has been dipped into the reconstituted vaccine. A few days following successful administration of the vaccine, a lesion forms at the vaccination site. This lesion contains vaccinia virus capable of infecting other parts of your body or infecting others who come in contact with the vaccination site directly or anything that contains drainage from the lesion.  For this reason, all smallpox vaccinees are taught, and must practice, proper vaccination site and dressing care. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

You also may be interested in...

Smallpox Revaccination Policy after 10 Years

Fact Sheet
10/30/2018

This information paper provides guidance for smallpox revaccination of Uniformed Service members.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

Smallpox Vaccine and Contact Transmission Avoidance

Fact Sheet
10/16/2018

This information paper describes precautions to be taken by household or other close contacts of those who recently received smallpox vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events

MMQC-17-1787 Cessation of Mandatory Anthrax and Smallpox Vaccinations for Routine Adult Immunization Medical Readiness

Publication
6/7/2018

Dept of Army has issued cessation of Mandatory Anthrax and Smallpox Vaccinations for Routine Adult Immunization Medical Readiness. Activities are to follow DepSecDef 2015 Memo: Clarifying Guidance for Smallpox and Anthrax Immunization Programs and 2013 AR 40-562 Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases. Army Exception to Policy (ETP) requests to be submitted through ASA(M&RA) for approval. See the memo attached to the linked message.

Recommended Content:

Anthrax | Smallpox

Smallpox Vaccination Program Questions and Answers

Publication
4/5/2018

All Smallpox Vaccination Program questions and answers in downloadable pdf format.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events

Smallpox ACAM2000 Medication Guide

Publication
3/1/2018

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

Smallpox Vaccine Screening Form

Form/Template
2/8/2018

Each potential recipient of smallpox vaccine must complete this official screening form and it must be signed by a licensed health care provider prior to vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events

Smallpox Disease and Smallpox Vaccine

Fact Sheet
1/4/2018

This information paper describes Smallpox disease and the Smallpox vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

MMQC-17-2753: Smallpox Vaccine Brochure Updated

Publication
11/14/2017

The Defense Healthcare Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch (DHA-IHB) has updated the Smallpox Vaccine Brochure entitled, "What You Need to Know about Smallpox Vaccine."

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

U.S. Central Command Smallpox Vaccine Exception to Policy

Fact Sheet
9/29/2017

This information paper provides guidance on the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) Smallpox Vaccine Exception to Policy (ETP).

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

What You Need to Know About Smallpox Vaccine

Brochure
9/28/2017

Smallpox is a contagious and infectious disease caused by the variola virus. Smallpox can be deadly; resulting in death for about 3 out of 10 unvaccinated individuals. Survivors are often left with scars on their bodies and their eyes, resulting in blindness.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox

When Pregnancy is Discovered after Smallpox Vaccination - Smallpox Vaccine in Pregnancy Registry

Fact Sheet
8/31/2017

This paper provides information for women who discover they are pregnant after receiving smallpox vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events | Pregnancy Information

Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human) (VIGIV)

Fact Sheet
8/29/2017

This information paper defines procedures for acquiring VIGIV.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events

VAERS Smallpox Pregnancy Supplemental Form

Form/Template
6/29/2017

Form for providers to refer patients who were exposed to smallpox vaccine while pregnant to the Smallpox Vaccine in Pregnancy Registry.

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events | Pregnancy Information

Adverse Reaction After Vaccinia Virus Vaccination — New Mexico, 2016

Report
12/2/2016

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events

MMQC-16-1627 Smallpox Live Vaccinia (ACAM2000) Vaccine

Publication
6/17/2016

Recommended Content:

Smallpox | Smallpox Vaccine-Associated Adverse Events
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.