Commentary: Finding the Last Person Infected With Smallpox


Sumary of Commentary: Finding the Last Person Infected With Smallpox:

  • By 1979, the World Health Organization had trapped the smallpox virus to a small area on the East African coast..
  • Trying to vaccinate everyone in the developed world was inefficient and unnecessary, but focusing on vaccinating contacts worked..
  • Another helpful WHO investigator, a Czech, Zdeno Jezek, took me to Merka, an ancient port southeast of the capital to meet Ali Maow Maalin..
  • Vaccinators from elsewhere were rushed to the scene, as WHO waited for the seemingly inevitable secondary infections..
  • Her office at the Birmingham University Medical School was one floor up from a virology lab that also stored samples of variola in a hallway freezer…

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