Smallpox is a highly contagious and frequently fatal viral disease characterized by a biphasic fever and a distinctive skin rash that (if the patient survived) left pock marks in its wake. It was so named because the pocks were small and the disease was seen as less than the "great pox" (syphilis). Smallpox has been eradicated in the world today and exists only in a few laboratories. Smallpox vaccines are being developed due to fears associated with biological warfare.

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