The Deadly Smallpox Virus

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Smallpox is a disease that we have effectively erased from the Earth. The World Health Organization deemed “smallpox” as dead in 1980. However, we are constantly trying to find new and improved vaccine for smallpox, due to fear it might be used as a bioweapon.

The routine smallpox vaccination stopped in the United States in the 1970s. Most countries do not get routinely vaccinated against smallpox nowadays. But due to the concern that the virus could be used as a bioweapon, military and researchers still work with the virus.

Smallpox is somewhat similar to chickenpox. The difference is chickenpox is caused by a herpes virus, while smallpox is caused by a pox virus. The prodromal symptoms in smallpox precede the rash, while in chickenpox, the lesions are superficial and appear in crops.

The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977.

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