In 1965, the World Health Organization began a worldwide effort to wipe out smallpox. Studies by doctors showed that the disease could be stopped from spreading if the people who came in contact with infected persons were all vaccinated. The World Health Organization’s removal plan was not to try to vaccinate everyone in the world, but rather to find all of the cases as soon as they developed their rashes, and then to vaccinate all the people living in the areas where the cases lived. This plan worked dramatically, and the disease was completely eliminated from the earth by 1977.
Today, the smallpox virus exists only in two freezers in Moscow, Russia, and Atlanta, Georgia. If the virus got out, it could infect people, because people are no longer being vaccinated. However, the viruses are very carefully guarded. Scientists are currently debating whether these frozen viruses should be destroyed, or kept for possible medical research purposes.
The Scourge of the World
Nestled deep in the bowels of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, locked away in a blue and silver freezer lays what remains of humankind’s deadliest enemy. Neatly tucked away in a virology institute in Siberia, guarded twenty-four hours a day, lays it’s counterpart. No, not a man made weapon of mass destruction; just a natural born killer of man. This insatiable killer is known in the scientific community as the Variola Virus. To the layperson, it is called, smallpox. The smallpox virus first presented itself between three thousand and twelve thousand years ago, possibly in Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs (Preston44). There are two types of Variola virus, Variola Major and Variola Minor. Variola Minor is a mutated form of the Variola Major. Variola Minor was first discovered in Jamaica in 1863. Variola Minor is not the strain responsible for millions of deaths: only one percent of the people who contract Variola Minor die from the virus (Preston45). The classic virus, Variola...