Sometimes a miracle happens and we eradicate a disease. Biomedical science and public health create this miracle when medicines and vaccines are developed that enable disease control and prevention. At the beginning of the 20th century, few effective treatments and preventive measures existed to prevent infectious diseases. However, vaccines have been developed and used to prevent many of the infectious diseases that threatened our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents during the 20th century.
OK, here is the scoop:
What Is Smallpox?
Here's what you should know about this dangerous virus.
Smallpox is a highly contagious virus that can be spread through the air and infects 30% of the people who are exposed to it. Once infected, there is no cure. None of our current antiviral medications is effective. Smallpox can spread from person to person and through infected blankets, linens, and clothing.
Experts consider it a likely weapon of choice for use in a bioterrorist attack.
Symptoms don't start until about 12 days after exposure to the virus. At first, it's like the flu -- causing an under-the-weather feeling of fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and backache. Then, severe abdominal pain and disorientation can set in, as small, round sores erupt all over the skin. About 30% of people who become infected will die, and survivors can be left with permanent scars.
Of course, vaccination can prevent smallpox infection. But the World Health Organization's worldwide vaccination campaign, begun in 1967, came to an end in 1980 when the disease was officially declared "eradicated." Here in the U.S., where smallpox was stamped out even earlier, childhood vaccination ceased in 1972.
There are only two official repositories of smallpox virus in the world: the CDC in Atlanta and the Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk. Those supplies are used for scientific research and vaccine development.
These two sources, however, are not the only stashes of the deadly virus.
The same year that worldwide vaccination ceased, the Soviet government began growing and stockpiling large quantities of smallpox virus, specially adapted for use in bombs and missiles.
Even before Sept. 11th, interest was rising in how prepared we are to face a bioterrorism attack. And now that the "unthinkable" has happened, bolstering our smallpox vaccine supply has become a priority. There are currently about 50 million vaccine doses worldwide -- with 5 million to 7
million here in the U.S. (some estimates are as high as 15 million) Experts say that even with an all-out manufacturing effort, it would take at least three years before there was sufficient supply to prevent an epidemic.
So there is the latest... hope it helps. The most reassuring note about smallpox is that once unleashed upon any country, it would spread to EVERY country. That includes Allahs chosen lands in the middle east. All terrorists know that, and although they would die for their cause, they would not risk eliminating their entire populations... PS-they know we wont nuke em, so the current campaign does not risk their entire population....
Breath deep, because if we are exposed it just won't matter