Ending Smallpox Vaccinations May Have Opened the Door for Monkeypox

By Andrew Moseman | August 31, 2010 9:41 am

MonkeypoxFrom Ed Yong:

In 8 May 1980, the World Health Organisation declared that “the world and its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.” Through decades of intense vaccination, this once fatal disease had been wiped out. It was a singular victory and having won it, countries around the world discontinued the vaccination programmes. After all, why protect against a disease that no longer exists (save in a few isolated stocks)?

Unfortunately, this is not a rhetorical question. The smallpox vaccine did more than protect against smallpox. It also reduced the risk of contracting a related illness called monkeypox, which produces the same combination of scabby bumps and fever. It’s milder than smallpox but it’s still a serious affliction. In Africa, where monkeypox originates from, it kills anywhere from 1-10% of those who are infected. And more and more people are becoming infected.

Read the rest of this post at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: A Killer Pox in the Congo
DISCOVER: Whatever Happened To… Smallpox?
80beats: Did the Eradication of Smallpox Accidentally Help the Spread of HIV?

Image: U.S. Air Force

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Idlewilde

    It’s foolish to end vaccinations for a disease that still exists in any shape or form, even if that form is ‘safe’ in isolated stocks.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »