Monkeypox Vs Smallpox

As you might have already heard by now, monkeypox is similar to smallpox, but do you know how similar they are? Well, they are similar enough that the vaccine for smallpox seems to be able to even cure monkeypox. But what if we told you they are also different? In this article, we take a deep dive into the similarities and dissimilarities between monkeypox and smallpox in the hopes of clearing all your doubts.

What is monkeypox?

We have all described this question in great detail in one of our previous articles. You can read our article “All you need to know about Monkeypox, its symptoms and prevention“. But, just to give a quick summary, Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus.

What is smallpox?

Smallpox was a very serious infectious disease which was caused by the variola virus. Every 3 out of 10 people who contracted the virus had died. The virus has been successfully eradicated and there has been no case of smallpox since 1977. Smallpox is the first and to date the only disease to have been completely eradicated.

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Similarities between monkeypox and smallpox

  • Monkeypox is very similar to smallpox, as they both belong to the same group of viruses which is known as the orthopoxvirus. 
  • Usually found in Africa. 
  • The similar symptoms between the two viruses are fever, headache, rash, and flu.
  • They both take about 4 weeks to recover from.

Dissimilarities between monkeypox and smallpox

  • Monkeypox is milder than smallpox.
  • The fatality rate of monkeypox is at 10% whereas for smallpox it was 30%.
  • Monkeypox causes enlargement of lymph nodes or glands while smallpox as the name suggests was small comparatively.
  • Monkeypox can also spread from animals to humans while smallpox is only transmitted through humans.
  • Monkeypox can spread from human-to-human contact but it is less common whereas smallpox it was much easier.


Health is my priority, and I wish to make it yours too. Hence, I use my medical background to write extensively about ways to get healthy and stay that way. My work is always backed by thorough research because I aim to provide the most accurate way to get into a healthy lifestyle. I cover a vast range of topics like exercise, honest reviews of medical products, food nutrition, and dietetics. I also cover topics related to pets because a healthy pet means a healthy human.

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