A Look Back at a Smallpox Epidemic - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/16/02

A Look Back at a Smallpox Epidemic

As we move forward with the president's plan to vaccinate against Smallpox, physicians are looking back at a Smallpox epidemic in this country 100 years ago to better understand this highly contagious disease that was in Boston from 1901 to 1903. Now, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine analyzes the records of 243 patients admitted to a Boston hospital during that epidemic.

The study shows that nearly 18% of those patients died, and patients between the ages of 5 to 45 had the best chance of survival. Also, the study shows that vaccination plays a big role in survival because it not only can the vaccine prevent the disease but also help some patients by lessening the severity of the illness. About 25% of Americans are high risk of complications from the vaccine. This includes people with health conditions including cancer, compromised immune systems or skin infections like Excema or Psoriasis. There is no cure for Smallpox.

Routine Smallpox vaccinations ended in the United States in 1972. The world health organization announced in 1980 that Smallpox has been eradicated. For more information on Smallpox visit the following websites:

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