The Life and Death of Smallpox

Front Cover
This is an engaging and fascinating story of a conditional human success story. Smallpox has been one of the most devastating scourges of humanity throughout recorded history, and it is the only human illness to have been eradicated, though polio may soon follow it to official extinction through human agency. However, while smallpox is officially extinct in nature, our fears that stocks of smallpox virus may return as a weapon of bioterrorists have led to the stockpiling of vaccine, and continuing vigilance, even though the official victory over smallpox is now 15 years old. The Life and Death of Smallpox presents the entire engaging history of our struggle and ultimate victory over one of our oldest and worst enemies. The story of the campaign to track down and eradicate the virus, throughout the world--the difficulties, setbacks, and the challenges successfully met--is a highlight of a fascinating book, but we can't be confident of the ending. The final chapter of the book clearly and authoritatively explains the current status of the threat, from the deliberate release of smallpox or other potential agents of biological terrorism.
 

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Contents

The most terrible of all the ministers of death I 1 The most terrible of all the ministers of death
1
From myths to mummies 6
8
AD 0 to 1500
14
15001700 30 4 Smallpox in the age of discoveries 15001700
43
Kicking against the pricks
55
The heyday of inoculation
75
From cuckoos to cowpox
95
The worldwide spread
115
A hundred years on
143
Bring hither the fatted calf
165
Sorting out the viruses
177
the beginning of the end
190
Annihilation of the smallpox
200
And out of good still to find means of evil
228
Notes
246
Index 269

Confusion and compulsion
130

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