Variola - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Variola is also known as smallpox, is a highly contagious disease unique to humans. It was so named because the pocks were small and the disease was seen as less than the "great pox" (syphilis). It has been a greatly feared disease.It is characterized by fever and weakness and skin eruption with pustules that form scabs that slough off leaving scars.
Variola is a fatal viral disease, which is characterized by a skin rash and a high death rate. It is caused by two virus variants called Variola major and Variola minor. V. major is the more deadly form, with a typical mortality of 20-40 percent of those infected. The other type, V. minor, only kills 1% of its victims.
Causes of Variola:
The possible causes of variola are :-
- The variola is mainly caused by virus called- variola major and minor virus.
- Variola could be released by aerosol and it would spread easily because the virus remains very stable in aerosol form.
- The virus usually entered the body through the respiratory (breathing) tract. It is then passed through an incubation period of twelve to fourteen days. During this time, the virus was multiplying within the body and moving through the bloodstream.
- It's most often transmitted in air droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- Exposure to viruses of the Poxviridae family can also causes these infections.
- Smallpox also can spread through contact with contaminated clothing and bedding, although the risk of infection from these sources is slight.
- It is a contagious disease. The virus could be transferred from one person to another in a number of ways.
Symptoms of Variola:
The most common symptoms for variola disease are:-
- The initial symptoms of variola includes:- high fever,severe muscle aches, etc.
- The rashes are commonly occur over the exposed portions of the body generally on face, forearms, wrists, palms, lower legs, feet and soles.
- Feeling of malaise may also present.
- Variola lesions tend to be deeper in the skin, hard to touch, and the vesicles are tough to break.
- Rash, raised and pink on the skin, starting centrally and spreading outwards.
- The fever, rigors, vomiting, headache, and backache are the common symptoms of variola. They are more abundant on the extremities and face, and develop synchronously.
- In the chronic conditions, there may be bleeding from the affected area of skin.
- The mental disorder, may be seen in some patients with variola.
Treatments of Variola:
The effective treatments for variola includes:-
- If the smallpox vaccination is given within 1-4 days of exposure to the disease, it may prevent illness, or at least lessen the degree of illness associated with the disease.
- If the fever rises above 103 F., reduce it by means of tepid sponges and tepid enemas.
- Hot fomentations can partially relieve pain in the legs and back.
- Sometimes antibiotics are given for secondary infections that may occur.
- Vaccine immune globulin is used to treat variola.
- The exposed persons would need to be isolated immediately.
- Cidofovir may have some activity against these poxviruses.
- Keep the sick person in bed with the windows darkened.
- Give high herb enemas and clean out the bowels.
- When the skin is hot and dry, give him fluids every hour until there is free perspiration.