Treatment for Smallpox Now Available

PUBLISHED: Jul 30, 2018
Relevant to: Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Pharmacy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the approval of TPOXX, the first drug with an indication for treatment of Smallpox. Though the World Health Organization declared smallpox, a contagious and sometimes fatal infectious disease, eradicated in 1980, there have been longstanding concerns that smallpox could be used as a bioweapon. According to the FDA, this new treatment affords an additional option should smallpox ever be used as a bioweapon.

Prior to its eradication in 1980, variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox, was mainly spread by direct contact between people. Symptoms typically began 10 to 14 days after infection and included fever, exhaustion, headache and backache. A rash initially consisting of small, pink bumps progressed to pus-filled sores before finally crusting over and scarring. Complications of smallpox could include encephalitis, corneal ulcerations and blindness.

TPOXX was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Included with today’s notice is an example policy for response and treatment of Smallpox.

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