Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

(Image Credit: Public Health Images Library: CDC/James Hicks)

Well, this photograph is no laughing matter. It is a photograph taken in 1973 in Bangladesh, India, showing smallpox lesions on human skin. Smallpox, a DNA virus, is a member of the genus orthopoxvirus. The orthopoxviruses are among the largest and most complex of all viruses. The virion is characteristically a brick-shaped structure with a diameter of about 200 nm. Three other members of this genus (monkeypox, vaccinia, and cowpox) can also infect humans, causing cutaneous lesions, but only smallpox is readily transmitted from person to person. Monkeypox, a zoonotic disease, presently is found only in tropical rain forest areas of central and western Africa and is not readily transmitted among humans.