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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Communicable  Diseases Subjects A-Z



Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Disease Reporting


(Variola major)

The last naturally acquired case of smallpox in the world occurred in October 1977 in Somalia. The World Health Organization officially certified the world as smallpox-free in 1979. Two secure laboratories, the CDC in the US and one in Russia, are the only known holders of the
virus. Smallpox is spread by droplet and aerosol; it may also be spread by direct inoculation from a lesion to an open wound or cut in the skin. “Weaponized” smallpox has been postulated to be spread by aerosol. Transmission is usually limited to close contacts such as household members. In incubation period is from 7 to 17 days; patients are infectious once the rash and/or oral lesion has appeared.

Smallpox disease is distinct from other general body rashes.

General Information

CDC Smallpox Basics  (Exit DHS)   

Information for health professionals

This is a Wisconsin disease surveillance category I disease:
Report IMMEDIATELY by TELEPHONE to the patient's local public health department upon identification of a confirmed or suspected case. The local health department shall then notify the state epidemiologist immediately of any confirmed or suspected cases. Submit a case report within 24 hours submit a case report electronically through the Wisconsin Electronic Surveillance System (WEDSS), by mail or fax using an Acute and Communicable Disease case report F44151 or by other means. 
Information on communicable disease reporting

Wisconsin case reporting and public health follow-up guidelines: Smallpox EpiNet


Wisconsin Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies

Last Revised: March 04, 2014