Difference Between Chickenpox and Smallpox

Diseases caused by viruses occur when they penetrate the cells of the body and begin to reproduce rapidly, thereby generating a series of symptoms that denote the presence of a disease. Viruses are organisms even smaller than bacteria and can only be seen through a microscope and are also not sensitive to drugs, so a series of vaccines have been carried out to immunize the individual and thus avoid the diseases that these produce.

On the other hand, there are thousands of viruses that can cause different diseases that can lead the person to seriously suffer from them, such as: rhinoviruses, which cause colds; rotaviruses, which cause gastrointestinal illnesses; adenoviruses, which cause respiratory diseases; herpesviruses, which cause diseases such as chickenpox and smallpox, are the topics of interest in this article.

It is therefore that, considering the importance of knowing the form of contagion, symptoms, causes and sequelae of these two diseases, we will now show the characteristics of each of them and then summarize the most notable differences between chickenpox and smallpox.


Chickenpox is a rare viral infection today, because there is already a vaccine against this disease. However, this is caused by a -herpesvirus- called -varicella zoster-, which also produces the so-called -shingles- in adults.

As for transmission, it is transmitted from one infected person to another and is spread from the first day before the blisters appear until the scabs form. In this aspect, the form of contagion can be by touching the liquid of a blister or if someone who has the disease coughs or sneezes near a healthy person.

Among the main symptoms of the disease we have fever, headache and abdominal pain. Likewise, itchy blisters appear between the tenth and twentieth day after infection and then scabs form that fall off over time without leaving scars. We must say that this disease has no treatment apart from only giving antipyretics to the patient in case of high fever and avoiding scratching the blisters to avoid bacterial infection.


Smallpox is an infectious and contagious disease that has been totally eradicated since the 1970s. It is transmitted by a virus from a sick person to a healthy person through droplets of saliva or through contact with the sheets and clothing of the person who has it. the virus. In addition, it is contagious from the first week of incubation until the scabs fall off.

We can limit that there are two types of smallpox: the major one, which causes thousands of diseases worldwide and the minor one, which presents milder symptoms in people. Next, among the symptoms of the disease can be mentioned fever, headache, back pain, delirium, excessive bleeding, skin rashes, nausea and vomiting.

On the other hand, the complications can include arthritis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), pneumonia and death and also this disease has no treatment. However, immunoglobulins can be given to improve people’s condition.

Taking into account that both diseases are caused by viruses and can significantly affect people’s health, some differences between chickenpox and smallpox are presented below:

Chickenpox Smallpox
It is not very common nowadays. It has been eradicated since the 1970s.
It is a mild viral infection. It is a serious viral infection and causes thousands of deaths in the world.
You can have complications, although they are not very common in healthy people who get chickenpox. Complications can lead to arthritis, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.
It can be spread from the first day until the disappearance of the scabs. It can be spread in the first week of virus incubation.
Symptoms are fever, headache and skin rash. Symptoms are fever, back pain, headache, bleeding, rash, and delirium.

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