September 29, 2021
Called “the most dreadful scourge of the human species,” smallpox begins with fever, muscle pain, headache, and fatigue. Days later lesions will appear first inside the mouth and on the tongue, and later, lesions will attack the skin on forehead, face, trunk, and arms.
By days six or seven, each lesion swells into a pustule, a painful pocket that drains fluid, hence the name “pock[et]s” or pox.
During an endemic, mortality rates will exceed 30%. Of those who live, a percentage are blinded, but all who live will suffer from hideous facial scars. For example, George Washington contr...