Smallpox vaccine issues
Smallpox vaccine issues

"The first clear reference to smallpox inoculation was made by the Chinese author Wan Quan (1499–1582) in his Douzhen xinfa (痘疹心法) published in 1549" - Needham J (1999). "Part 6, Medicine". Science and Civilization in China: Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 134

"The fact that humans are the only reservoir for smallpox infection and that carriers did not exist, played a significant role in the eradication of smallpox"

"In 1999 The WHO adopts a resolution calling for a delay in the destruction of smallpox in the two known storage sites in the USA and Russia. An editorial by Donna Shalala, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration, justifies the preservation of smallpox stocks, as does the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) with a report that states, “The most compelling need for long-term retention of live variola virus would be for the development of antiviral agents or novel vaccines to protect against a re-emergence of smallpox due to accidental or intentional release of variola virus.” - "Viruses, Plagues and History"

History of Smallpox

Origin of Smallpox
The origin of smallpox is unknown. Smallpox is thought to date back to the Egyptian Empire around the 3rd century BCE (Before Common Era), based on a smallpox-like rash found on three mummies. The earliest written description of a disease that clearly resembles smallpox appeared in China in the 4th century CE (Common Era). Early written descriptions also appeared in India in the 7th century and in Asia Minor in the 10th century.

In late 1975, Rahima Banu, a three-year-old girl from Bangladesh, was the last person in the world to have naturally acquired variola major and the last person in Asia to have active smallpox.

Ali Maow Maalin was the last person to have naturally acquired smallpox caused by variola minor. Maalin was a hospital cook in Merca, Somalia. On October 12, 1977, he accompanied two smallpox patients in a vehicle from the hospital to the local smallpox office.

Janet Parker was the last person to die of smallpox. It was 1978, and Parker was a medical photographer at the Birmingham University Medical School in England and worked one floor above the Medical Microbiology Department where smallpox research was being conducted. She became ill on August 11 and developed a rash on August 15 but was not diagnosed with smallpox until 9 days later. She died on September 11, 1978. Her mother, who was providing care for her, developed smallpox on September 7, despite having been vaccinated on August 24.

Following the eradication of smallpox, scientists and public health officials determined there was still a need to perform research using the variola virus. They agreed to reduce the number of laboratories holding stocks of variola virus to only four locations. In 1981, the four countries that either served as a WHO collaborating center or were actively working with variola virus were the United States, England, Russia, and South Africa. By 1984, England and South Africa had either destroyed their stocks or transferred them to other approved labs. There are now only two locations where variola virus is officially stored and handled under WHO supervision: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute) in Koltsovo, Russia.

The U.S. Just Found Some Rogue Smallpox In a Closet

On Tuesday, the CDC announced that it found vials of a smallpox-causing virus in a lab's storage room.
JUL 8, 2014

1978: "Mrs. Parker had been fatally infected with smallpox at the laboratory."

As she lay in her hospital bed, on 5 September her father Frederick, 77, died from an apparent cardiac arrest while in quarantine, thought to have been brought on by the stress of his daughter's illness. However, no post-mortem examination was ever carried out due to the risk the smallpox infection posed.

With the outbreak claiming its first victim, a day later Prof Bedson went out into his shed at his home in the Birmingham suburb of Harborne and killed himself. He left a note, which read: "I am sorry to have misplaced the trust which so many of my friends and colleagues have placed in me and my work." Five days later, at 03:50 on 11 September, Mrs Parker died.

While Mrs Parker's mother developed "a very mild attack of smallpox" according to Prof Geddes, she was discharged free from infection on 22 September. She had missed the funerals of both her husband and daughter.

Birmingham was declared free of the disease on 16 October 1978, but the question as to exactly how Mrs Parker contracted smallpox has never been answered fully.

In 1980 a government-commissioned paper, the Shooter Report, found there was "no doubt" that Mrs Parker had been infected at the laboratory.

The report said the transfer of the virus must have occurred by one of three routes - on an air current, by personal contact or by contact with contaminated equipment or apparatus.

To date, there have been no further outbreaks of the disease. Illustration of first smallpox vaccination

2007 Soldier’s Smallpox Inoculation Infects Son and Wife

Soldier’s Smallpox Inoculation Sickens Son

"American soldier vaccinated for smallpox three weeks before shipping out to Iraq returns home to visit his family. His two-year-old son, two weeks later, develops a severe and dangerous skin infection caused by vaccinia virus. Critically ill, the child spends seven weeks in the hospital and is successfully treated with new anti-smallpox viral therapy. Soldier’s wife also ill from smallpox, has a mild case, and recovers

October 26, 1977 - 23-year-old Ali Maow Malin was designated by as having the world’s last naturally occurring case of smallpox

"Smallpox was eventually conquered by “disease control” measures. There is still no effective antimicrobial agent. As the incidence declined with mass vaccinations, public health officials adopted a policy of identifying and then controlling (isolating) infected individuals, continuing this practice over and over in developing countries until October 26, 1977. On that day, a 23-year-old cook, Ali Maow Malin, in the town of Marka, in Somalia, was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having the world’s last naturally occurring case of smallpox.

Sadly, I must qualify the previous sentence with the phrase “naturally occurring” because, in our infinite wisdom, we have maintained laboratory samples of the smallpox virus, causing the legitimate concern today that these virus samples might be acquired and used by terrorists"

1 in 1000 have side effects to the vaccine, 1 in a million die from them.

Prevalence of Antibodies to Vaccinia Virus After Smallpox Vaccination in Italy
"There are side effects and risks associated with the smallpox vaccine. In the past, about 1 out of 1,000 people vaccinated for the first time experienced serious, but non-life-threatening, reactions, including toxic or allergic reaction at the site of the vaccination (erythema multiforme), spread of the vaccinia virus to other parts of the body, and to other individuals. Potentially life-threatening reactions occurred in 14 to 500 people out of every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time. Based on past experience, it is estimated that 1 or 2 people in 1 million (0.000198 percent) who receive the vaccine may die as a result, most often the result of postvaccinial encephalitis or severe necrosis in the area of vaccination (called progressive vaccinia)."

Biological warfare

The British used smallpox as a biological warfare agent at the Siege of Fort Pitt during the French and Indian Wars (1754–1763) against France and its Native American allies.[125][126][127][128] British officers, including the top British commanding generals, ordered, sanctioned, paid for and conducted the use of smallpox against the Native Americans. As described by historians, "there is no doubt that British military authorities approved of attempts to spread smallpox among the enemy", and "it was deliberate British policy to infect the Indians with smallpox".[129] On 24 June 1763, William Trent, a local trader and commander of the Fort Pitt militia, wrote, "Out of our regard for them, we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect."[130][125] The effectiveness of this effort to broadcast the disease is unknown. There are also accounts that smallpox was used as a weapon during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).[131][132]

According to a theory put forward in Journal of Australian Studies (JAS) by independent researcher Christopher Warren, British marines used smallpox in 1789 against indigenous tribes in New South Wales.[133] This theory was also considered earlier in Bulletin of the History of Medicine[134] and by David Day.[135] However it is disputed by some medical academics, including Professor Jack Carmody, who in 2010 claimed that the rapid spread of the outbreak in question was more likely indicative of chickenpox—a disease which, at the time, was often confused, even by surgeons, with smallpox, and was in fact comparably deadly to Aborigines and to other peoples without natural immunity to it.[136] Carmody noted that in the 8-month voyage of the First Fleet and the following 14 months there were no reports of smallpox amongst the colonists and that, since smallpox has an incubation period of 10–12 days, it is unlikely it was present in the First Fleet; however, Warren argued in the JAS article that the likely source was bottles of smallpox virus possessed by First Fleet surgeons. Ian and Jennifer Glynn, in The life and death of smallpox, confirm that bottles of "variolous matter" were carried to Australia for use as a vaccine, but think it unlikely the virus could have survived till 1789.[78] In 2007, Christopher Warren offered evidence that the British smallpox may have been still viable.[137] However, the only non Aborigine reported to have died in this outbreak was a seaman called Joseph Jeffries, who was recorded as being of "American Indian" origin.[138]

W. S. Carus, an expert in biological weapons, has written that there is circumstantial evidence that smallpox was deliberately introduced to the Aboriginal population.[139] However Carmody and the Australian National University's Boyd Hunter continue to support the chickenpox hypothesis.[140]

During World War II, scientists from the United Kingdom, United States, and Japan (Unit 731 of the Imperial Japanese Army) were involved in research into producing a biological weapon from smallpox.[141] Plans of large scale production were never carried through as they considered that the weapon would not be very effective due to the wide-scale availability of a vaccine.[131] In 1947 the Soviet Union established a smallpox weapons factory in the city of Zagorsk, 75 km to the northeast of Moscow.[142] An outbreak of weaponized smallpox occurred during testing at a facility on an island in the Aral Sea in 1971. General Prof. Peter Burgasov, former Chief Sanitary Physician of the Soviet Army and a senior researcher within the Soviet program of biological weapons, described the incident:

On Vozrozhdeniya Island in the Aral Sea, the strongest recipes of smallpox were tested. Suddenly I was informed that there were mysterious cases of mortalities in Aralsk. A research ship of the Aral fleet came to within 15 km of the island (it was forbidden to come any closer than 40 km). The lab technician of this ship took samples of plankton twice a day from the top deck. The smallpox formulation – 400 gr. of which was exploded on the island – "got her" and she became infected. After returning home to Aralsk, she infected several people including children. All of them died. I suspected the reason for this and called the Chief of General Staff of Ministry of Defense and requested to forbid the stop of the Alma-Ata–Moscow train in Aralsk. As a result, the epidemic around the country was prevented. I called Andropov, who at that time was Chief of KGB, and informed him of the exclusive recipe of smallpox obtained on Vozrazhdenie Island.[143][144]

Others contend that the first patient may have contracted the disease while visiting Uyaly or Komsomolsk-on-Ustyurt, two cities where the boat docked.[145][146]

Responding to international pressures, in 1991 the Soviet government allowed a joint U.S.–British inspection team to tour four of its main weapons facilities at Biopreparat. The inspectors were met with evasion and denials from the Soviet scientists, and were eventually ordered out of the facility.[147] In 1992 Soviet defector Ken Alibek alleged that the Soviet bioweapons program at Zagorsk had produced a large stockpile – as much as twenty tons – of weaponized smallpox (possibly engineered to resist vaccines, Alibek further alleged), along with refrigerated warheads to deliver it. Alibek's stories about the former Soviet program's smallpox activities have never been independently verified.

In 1997, the Russian government announced that all of its remaining smallpox samples would be moved to the Vector Institute in Koltsovo.[147] With the breakup of the Soviet Union and unemployment of many of the weapons program's scientists, U.S. government officials have expressed concern that smallpox and the expertise to weaponize it may have become available to other governments or terrorist groups who might wish to use virus as means of biological warfare.[148] Specific allegations made against Iraq in this respect proved to be false.[149]

Concern has been expressed by some that artificial gene synthesis could be used to recreate the virus from existing digital genomes, for use in biological warfare.[150] Insertion of the synthesized smallpox DNA into existing related pox viruses could theoretically be used to recreate the virus.[150] The first step to mitigating this risk, it has been suggested, should be to destroy the remaining virus stocks so as to enable unequivocal criminalization of any possession of the virus.[151]

"In cases of flat smallpox in vaccinated people, the condition was extremely rare but less lethal, with one case series showing a 66.7% death rate."


cdc: History of Smallpox

closet: The U.S. Just Found Some Rogue Smallpox In a Closet

last lab case: 1978: "Mrs. Parker had been fatally infected with smallpox at the laboratory."

nyt: 2007 Soldier’s Smallpox Inoculation Infects Son and Wife

last natural case: October 26, 1977 - 23-year-old Ali Maow Malin was designated by as having the world’s last naturally occurring case of smallpox

side effects: 1 in 1000 have side effects to the vaccine, 1 in a million die from them.

weaponized: Biological warfare

who: "In cases of flat smallpox in vaccinated people, the condition was extremely rare but less lethal, with one case series showing a 66.7% death rate."