Research Paper - The driver of the Land Rover had two...

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The driver of the Land Rover had two children with smallpox in the back seat. He needed directions to the isolation camp near Merka, Samalia. The young man, who gave him directions, spending less than ten minutes in the vehicle with the driver and two patients, was a cook in the hospital at Merka. That brief chance encounter may have made the cook, a 23-year-old named Ali Maaow Maalin, the last human being to become a victim of smallpox. After helping the driver find the smallpox team leader in Merka, the cook went back to work at the hospital and let the matter slip from his mind. Two weeks later, he developed a fever and was sent home to rest. Two days after that, still feverish, he was back in the hospital as a patient. His illness was first diagnosed as malaria, then chicken pox. During all that time, both at home and in the hospital, he had visitors. No one recalled that he had been exposed to two active cases of smallpox. No one checked his vaccination record. Soon it became all too obvious that he had smallpox and was a living, contagious threat to one of the world’s great public health accomplishments. 1 Diseases are a huge part of human history, and just because a way is found to protect people from them, that does not mean that the threat and risk is gone. History of Smallpox Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease caused by a variola virus that emerged thousands of years ago. It is one of the many diseases like flu, tuberculosis, malaria, measles, cholera, and plague, that evolved from animals “even though most of the microbes responsible for our own epidemic illnesses are paradoxically now almost confined to humans” (Diamond 197). There is no specific treatment for smallpox, and the only prevention is a vaccine. Smallpox is Latin for “spotted” which refers to the raised bumps that appear on the face and body. There are two clinical forms of smallpox, variola major and variola 1 Thanks to James C. Frauenthal and his book Smallpox: When Should Routine Vaccination Be Discontinued? for the story of the last case of smallpox. 1
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minor. The variola major is the more common, and the more severe of the two. It has a more extensive rash, and a higher fever. There are four types of the variola major. The first type is called ordinary, which accounts for 90% or more of all cases. The second type is called modified, and it can occur in previously vaccinated people. Those first two have a fatality rate of about 30%. The third and fourth types are flat and hemorrhagic respectively, and they are rare, severe, and usually fatal. The other form of smallpox, variola minor, has a death rate of less than 1%. To transmit smallpox, generally direct face-to-face contact is required, but it can also be spread through bodily fluids or contaminated objects, like bedding and clothing. Like when “ U.S. whites bent on wiping out ‘belligerent’ Native Americans sent them gifts of blankets previously used by smallpox patients” (199). Humans are the only known host. It is not
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Research Paper - The driver of the Land Rover had two...

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