Why has the threat of smallpox recently come up in the media?
With the occurrences of anthrax in the United States the subject of biological warfare has been ignited. Adding to the threat of smallpox, secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Tompson proposed a contract to congress that would equip the defense department with three million vaccines to the smallpox virus. In this contract four large pharmaceutical companies would receive 500 million dollars to have these vaccines prepared before the end of 2002. With such high nation defense representatives moving for such actions the possibility of biological warfare utilizing smallpox seems to be closer than ever.
What is smallpox and what does it do?
Smallpox is a virulent infection that was considered to be eliminated form the world in 1977. Smallpox’s were highly contagious and were deadly for one and three victims. Upon exposure symptoms include high fever, fatigue, and head and back aches. Rashes then breakout on the face, legs, and arms. Red lesions then arise becoming pus-filled in the fallowing week. Smallpox is highly contagious within the first week of exposure and can be transmitted through Silvia conduction and face-to-face contact. Where as anthrax cannot be transmitted form person to person, smallpox can which presents a great possibility of an epidemic if introduced into the American population.
Smallpox is believed to be the longest lived human pathogen with a history dating back 2000 years. The Spaniards brought smallpox to the states in the 1700’s were it then killed off ninety percent of the American Indians with in 100 years.
... immune to the virus. Jenner later promoted the smallpox vaccination and ultimately wiped the virus clear out. ... whom acquired small pox, was a result of face to face contact. It is passed through the nose ... acquired small pox, was a result of face to face contact. It is passed through the nose ... were also left blinded. The victims who were faced with this dreadful disease, suffered terribly. In some ...
Smallpox as a new threat?
To date no cure has been found for smallpox and the use of smallpox vaccinations as a pre smallpox treatment was discontinued almost 25 years ago. Without a cure to the possible outbreak smallpox is a great threat if not controlled to a certain extent. If smallpox were to enter the U.S. it would be vital to use aggressive containment in stopping it from spreading further and quick response to ensure safety form an outbreak. Within the last twenty years the United States and the Soviet Union were the only countries allowed by the International Biological Study Center to study smallpox and control sample infections. Due to the fall of the Soviet Union it is believed that some of these warfare-based smallpox have fallen into the hands of Iraq. Thus the cause for such a push by Tommy Tompson to try to equip the national defense with a remedy to a possible outbreak. With the cover of the American public being concerned with the threat of anthrax smallpox has become a real threat to the American people.
Hernerson, Donald Dr. Biopreparedness and Public Health. Am. Journal Public Health. 2001 Dec9 (12)
Hauntz, Edward Dr. Management of Patients Exposed to Biological Warfare Agents. Clin Lab Med. 2001 Sep:21 (3) 435-73