WHO/AFRICAN SERIES / WHO-Spx-Dx-Africa51-MedRes
Note again the particular points that help to differentiate chickenpox from smallpox. In smallpox, the fever precedes, the rash by 2 to 4 days. The pocks on the body are at the same stage at any one time and they develop comparatively slowly. The pocks are more numerous on the arms and legs than on the body and are usually present on the palms and soles.
In most areas of Africa, 1 person out of every 10 who acquire smallpox will die. In chickenpox, death is very uncommon. When death occurs in a patient in whom chickenpox has been diagnosed, smallpox should always be suspected.
If there is any doubt whether a patient has chickenpox or smallpox, he should always be considered to have smallpox. The health authority should be notified immediately and the patient should be isolated either at home or in hospital. All his contacts should be vaccinated.