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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2002 Aug;8(8):504-9.

Smallpox--eradicated, but a growing terror threat.

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Department of Epidemiology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden.


Smallpox is a disease that followed humanity for thousands of years up until 30 years ago. It was possible to eradicate, because an effective live vaccine from crossreacting vaccinia could be developed. Twenty years have passed since vaccinations stopped and very few people are protected against the disease today. Variola today has become an object of discussion due to the possibility that it can be used as a bioweapon. Due to the number of complications that can be expected a general vaccination is probably not possible. Research is ongoing to develop new vaccines. Many countries are improving their capabilities to respond to a renewed threat of a smallpox epidemic.

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