The last case of Smallpox was on October 26, 1977:

Why is it in the News?

The last case of this disease, Smallpox, was seen in Somalia on October 26, 1977. In 1980, the WHO reported the eradication of Smallpox. Smallpox is the only Infectious disease to accomplish this result. This is one of the most notable health successes in the history of the global community.

What is Smallpox?

Smallpox is a type of infectious disease caused by the variola virus. This virus belongs to the family of orthopoxviruses. This disease was as devastating for human beings as it caused millions of deaths before it was eradicated. This disease has existed for 3000 years.

The starting symptoms of this disease include fever and vomiting. [5] The second stage is the formation of ulcers in the mouth and skin rashes. With time, slowly and gradually, the skin rash starts turning into fluid-filled blisters. The bumps then get removed and fall off, leaving marks and scars. The disease was contagious, so it got transferred from one person to another primarily through face-to-face contact with an infected person for a long time or sharing contaminated objects. This disease primarily affects babies, and it has a risk of 30% death. In Europe, it was estimated that in a year, approx. Four hundred thousand people suffered from disease and died every year, and blindness cases increased due to smallpox. In the 20th century, it killed 300 million people and 500 million people during its existence when it was not eradicated.

The very first successful vaccine to be developed for preventing people from contracting this deadly virus was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796. He observed that milkmaids who had suffered from cowpox earlier would not be able to get the smallpox virus. This indicated that the same kind of vaccination can prevent people from getting affected by smallpox.

A very remarkable plan was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eradicate smallpox in 1967. They fought it by focusing on getting people immunized all over the world, and a kind of surveillance was conducted on a global level as it was an infectious, severe and life-threatening disease.

How did it get Transmitted?

  1. Face-to-face contact spreads to saliva from someone suffering from that virus if he coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
  2.  In case they contacted the blisters on someone affected by Smallpox.
  3. They touch or share personal items like towels, blankets, or clothes, as the virus can live outside the body for 24 hours.




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