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Q: Smallpox & bioterrorism ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Smallpox & bioterrorism
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: lucy33-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 07 Aug 2002 13:29 PDT
Expires: 06 Sep 2002 13:29 PDT
Question ID: 51874
When was smallpox eradicated and why is it being considered a
potential threat in current bioterrorism scenarios?
Subject: Re: Smallpox & bioterrorism
Answered By: netcrazy-ga on 07 Aug 2002 14:22 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

What a great question!!

World Health Organization made declaration of the eradication of
smallpox from earth on May 8, 1980. In 1979, a global commission
certified that smallpox had been eradicated, and this certification
was officially accepted by the 33rd World Health Assembly in 1980.
Here are the details about this.

There are many FAQ available regarding this deadly disease. Questions
like "Can this be treated" or "why is smallpox being talked about
now?" are answered on this page.

As quoted by Vaxgen Chief Executive and scientist Lance K. Gordon,
when David Shook asked him about a similar question on bio-terrorism,
this is what he came up with:

"Q: Considering that the [smallpox] virus doesn't exist in nature
anymore, does the threat of a smallpox attack concern you?
A: There are two acknowledged stores of the virus, in Russia and the
U.S. There may be others that may have been retained elsewhere, but we
don't know that for certain. The Russians admitted that they
weaponized smallpox, so there's always the risk that some unknown
medical research lab tucked away somewhere has a supply that could be
used as a weapon.
However, the one thing that makes it less of a concern, perhaps, than
other forms of bio-terrorism is that there is a mutual deterrent
threat with smallpox. It's like nuclear arsenals during the Cold War.
Smallpox knows no boundaries and cuts across all religions and walks
of life. If terrorists are insane enough to not just kill themselves
but also their mothers and children and the rest of their religion,
then perhaps it might be used. Bottom line on smallpox, we eradicated
it before. We could eradicate it again if we had to."

This virus is still a threat as its samples are still available on two
places on earth. The virus is known to exist only under lock and key
in government centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Moscow, Russia.

If you’ve interest in reading, then I’ll suggest you to read this one:
"Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox" by Jonathan B.
Tucker, Ph.D.
Here is a discussion about his book, which has Smallpox as a major

Bio-terrorism Preparedness Program

Search terms used:

smallpox eradication

I hope this answered your question. Feel free to ask for any
clarification and if you are satisfied with this answer, then do rate


Clarification of Answer by netcrazy-ga on 08 Aug 2002 13:13 PDT
Thank you lucy33-ga for the 5 stars. Customers like you always boost our spirit :)

lucy33-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent information.  Thank you very much.

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