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Thread: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

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    Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1979, although there have been a few cases of smallpox since then, due to mishaps caused by the samples being kept for scientific purposes, there has been no widespread return of smallpox since 1979, and frankly, no one has ever heard of it since it's eradication.

    Smallpox samples are being kept by both the USA, and Russia for scientific purposes, and possibly some other European Countries, too. It has the potential, if captured by 'terrorists' to be used as an effective biological weapon, although a lot of people in the previous generation have been vaccinated, my generation, those born mid-80s and beyond, haven't been vaccinated, so we are at great risk.

    The question is simple - Should we keep smallpox samples, for 'scientific purposes', even if they are stored in secure locations, away from every threat possible?

    Personally, I don't believe we should keep smallpox for whatever reasons, why should we keep a disease that killed 500 million people in the 20th century, and going back further in time, possible 1 billion + people?

    Sure, if smallpox, in another form was to breakout, we can still respond. If we eradicated smallpox in the 70s, then it's all the possible we can in say, the 2040s.

    No point keeping such a deadly disease, in my opinion.

    Just kinda worried about the swine flu, lol xD

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    Re: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    I think it's a bit scary to have that stuff around, especially since we don't inoculate against it anymore. I'm not sure, but there could be legitimate use for it, I think inoculations are based on the living thing itself...don't know if they've improved that or not. So it's possible that it's kept around for that reason...also maybe good ol' biological warfare.
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    Re: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    I suspect that anyone who believes any disease is "eradicated" is living in a fool's paradise.

    Disease has a remarkable facility for staging a comeback, and usually at the most inconvenient times.

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    Re: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    Well I've been inoculated against it, so no worries for me. I guess you keep small doses of it around, for inoculation purposes. Other countries/organizations could be capable of unleashing it. If we couldn't inoculate against it, because we eliminated our stores of it thinking everybody else would follow suit, then we'd be screwed when somebody else decided to not follow the rules.
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    Re: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    Considering that the wonderful socialists in the Soviet Union, under Nobel Peace Prize winner Gorbachev bred and stored TONS of the deadliest strain of smallpox, and designed a MIRVed ICBM to deliver this live virus to unsuspecting cities, no, we should keep it on our lab, here in the US, and make sure it's eliminated elsewhere.

    The only host that virus lives in is human. In un-innoculated populations it spreads like wildfire, the last case being one in Munich, in which an infected man with what was called an "undiagnosed" fever opened his hospital room window and door a crack for ventilation and infected many others in the hospital.

    The innoculation most typically used is based on a related pox virus that exists independently of smallpox.
    Last edited by Scarecrow Akhbar; 04-27-09 at 11:20 AM.

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    Re: Should we keep, or get rid of smallpox, for good?

    We should keep it. It's probably only a matter of time before a disease escapes from a laboratory (intentionally or accidentally), and it would be good to have the vaccine on hand. Besides, I don't think it's possible to completely eliminate it. There are too many labs that have it.

    On another note, those of you older folks who received the smallpox vaccine when you were kids...it's worn off by now. You're just as much at risk as the rest of us.
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