Smallpox - A world killer

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Throughout history there have been many wars where one country has landed troops on another's soil and fought with bow and arrow, sword, spear, bullet and explosive. Now there is an even greater threat, a threat that means that 'death is in the very air'. Humanity has been fighting a war against its microscopic foes for its entire existence. Biological warfare tries to put a harness around disease and use it to achieve the destruction of an enemy. This is a threat to the very existence of the Human race and smallpox is one of the greatest threats, and this is its story...

Smallpox's history

Smallpox is not a new threat and has been around for centuries. During the French - Indian wars in North America (1754-1763) British soldiers gave blankets saturated in smallpox to the tribesmen. That then wiped out many tribes and paved the way for more British troops to land. In 1796 an English doctor called Edward Jenner developed the first smallpox vaccine. He had no idea how it worked but it did none the less. He had noticed many of milkmaids in the area had not suffered smallpox, but they had all had cowpox. Jenner did not know this but cowpox was a weekend form of smallpox and thus could be used as a vaccine. He then conducted a test on a small boy by injecting him with pus from a cowpox blister. A few days later he developed cowpox, which is far from serious and once the boy had recovered, Jenner injected him with pus from a smallpox blister. This was a great danger as he could of killed the boy. Luckily for him the boy survived, and it was used throughout the world until more advanced methods of vaccine manufacture were found .In 1980 the UN medical body, the World Health Organisation (or The WHO) announced that smallpox had been eradicated. However in that same year, the Soviets had been making a massive biological weapon-manufacturing programme known as Bio-prepera. When the Soviet Union collapsed the Russian government gave out an official statement saying that the factory had been decommissioned, unofficially though the factory is still operational and has not been demolished... (this infomation is from

Smallpox - The virus and symptoms

There is a very large difference between viruses and bacteria, which is important in its destructive force. Bacteria are tiny cells, 1/100th of the size of a normal cell. They have no nucleus and cause disease by either producing toxins or damaging other cells. These are relatively easy to get rid of as they can be destroyed by heat or acid. When you hear that a cleaning product has 'a powerful anti bacterial formula' it usually means that it contains an acid or bleach of some sort. Viruses are much more deadly. A virus cell is 1/10000th the size of a normal cell. It consists of a strand of DNA contained within a protein coat. The virus lands on a cell and injects the nucleus with its strand of DNA and then dies. However the cell that had been injected then starts to produce more of that virus, so when it was infected it became a virus factory. Then when the cell is full of virus cells it bursts and all the new virus cells go and do the same thing again. This process goes on until something stops it, one drug that kills one of the more common cold viruses mimics the cells that the virus infects and then the virus is stuck and cannot inject its gene. Viruses are more dangerous than bacteria because there are very few methods of counteracting them, they replicate much faster than bacteria and they can live almost anywhere. Smallpox usually lives in cool or dry places where it can replicate. It is transmitted between person to person very easily because it can be inhaled and the virus can lie dormant in a body during its incubation period for anything between 12 and 14 days. The symptoms after that would be flu like (high fever), accompanied with a rash and possibly delirium. Later this rash will develop into pustules filled with dead white blood cells (or pus as its commonly known). What makes it even more of a problem is that the bodies are still infectious after death, the virus continues devouring the body and releasing more microbes. There is a 1 in 10 chance that the patient will experience something known in Africa as the 'Blackpox'. This is smallpox but the symptoms change to those similar to Ebola, prophetic bleeding, skin discoloration and the other smallpox symptoms.

Safety measures

Because of the current low supply of smallpox vaccine and there being a lack of any cure for it, there are only certain things that can be done. So here is some of the information of what to do and what is likely to be done:

Try to limit your travel. It will be safer for you if you expose yourself to as few people as possible.

Co-operate with the authorities. It is likely that they have information on local outbreaks and will be doing what's best for you. You may be relocated to a secure compound for quarantine purposes.

The vaccine is likely to be distributed only to those directly exposed to a smallpox case

Wear a gas mask of some sort. Most smallpox cases are transmitted via airborne dormant microbes

Clean the bedclothes as often as possible. Smallpox can be transmitted through bedclothes

To conclude

The newest form of war is the most deadly and inhumane so far. Smallpox is the most deadly of the bullets in this arsenal and after reading this, you now understand its history, countermeasures for it and its dangerousness...

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