As far as Europe,
the last confirmed case of smallpox occurred in Somalia in 1977.
According to a link from premier's comment, there were smallpox outbreaks in Germany in 1970 and Yugoslavia in 1972.
Smallpox has approximately a 30% mortality rate, and spreads like
chickenpox or the flu.
According to that same article, smallpox has closer to a 5-10% mortality rate.
There is no cure, and we're not really sure how the vaccine
True, the current smallpox vaccine is often deadly.
The author knows the medical charactaristics of smallpox and the
procedures of the various public organizations involved. As in any hypothetical situation, there
was obviously some creativity involved, but this is an extremely plausible scenario.
The scenario, as written, is a fluff piece with no analysis of the patterns of transmissions of outbreaks of smallpox in modern times. It could be accurate. It could be inaccurate. It isn't supported, so I have no way of telling. It seems sensationalist to me and I consider that it was most likely written to get the budget for the CDC raised. If the scenario is as well researched as some seem to think, I do not understand why the facts and figures and analysis wasn't put into foot notes or a sidebar.
aspect I'm left wondering about here is the availability of smallpox.
The same article that premier pointed to briefly discusses that question:
reported by the former deputy director of the Russian Bioweapons Program, officials of the former Soviet Union took notice of the world's
decision in 1980 to cease smallpox vaccination, and in the atmosphere of the cold war, they embarked on an ambitious plan to produce
smallpox virus in large quantities and use it as a weapon. At least two other laboratories in the former Soviet Union are now reported to
maintain smallpox virus, and one may have the capacity to produce the virus in tons at least monthly. Moreover, Russian biologists, like
physicists and chemists, may have left Russia to sell their services to rogue governments.
Not a cheery though, eh?
If I remember correctly, US
vaccine stockpiles account for about 1/3 of the military.
Per the abovementioned article, in 1999 vaccine stocks in the USA were sufficient to vaccinate between six and seven million individuals, approximately 1 out of fifty US citizens.
I never said that I don't think smallpox is a serious threat. My contention is that the article that was linked to had few if any hard facts and if it is based on research it doesn't show it. It reads to me like sensationalism.
Lee Irenæus Malatesta
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