A Conversation for Smallpox - A world killer

Peer Review: A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 1


Entry: Smallpox - A world killer - A876567
Author: Alpha5 - U205983

The most dangerous virus of the time explained

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 2

McKay The Disorganised

Questions - Isn't smallpox a disease ? How long does vaccination against smallpox last ? (Some of us are old enough to have been vaccinated.) Why should we be worrying about smallpox particularly ? There are I believe more sturdy biological hazards that can be used for warfare - wasn't Anthrax developed because smallpox and othr natural diseases were so easily killed ?

Typo - Weekend should be weakened

Additional fact - The small boy Jenner tried the vaccination on was his son. He sliced open his skin, inserted the cow pox and pressed it down again - Thanks Dad !

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 3


Anthrax is not directly contageous.It cannot be passed from person to person unless you put the powder in your hankicheif and sneeze .It is also has a death rate of 10% where as Smallpox has a death rate of 33.3%. Also, Smallpox is the easiest of all viruses to breed. Unlike its counterparts like Anthrax, Ebola and other viruses, it needs fairly unspecific places to breed. Ebola needs air or water of a specific tempreture or humidity. Anthrax is entirely manufactured and needs to be in powder form to be effective. And as for your question about diseases and viruses they are completly diffrent terms. A virus is what causes the disease. The disease is not the virus.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 4


I think you should mention somewhere the stupidity of the UN vote to destroy all remaining stocks (which would include the stuff needed to make a vacine).

This is stupid for a number of reasons.

1,we can't be sure that no one has not still got some, only that none has escaped and been recognised. thus losing the stuff to create a vacine from is a bit silly.

2,It activates just about every defense system that the body has. if the virus can be dna mapped, and that information used to track down the response in the body, it will tell us a massive amount about how the body works against disease, and how to get it to work better.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 5

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

Alpha5, when other researchers mention typos, it would be helpful if you would amend your entry, then they won't be noted and repeated here by other readers.

I also noted the "weekend" - "weakened" typo.

"weekend form of smallpox" should be "weakened form of smallpox" in case McKay's post wasn't understood.

"This was a great danger as he could of killed the boy" should be

"This was a great danger as he could have killed the boy"

although it would sound better as
"This was a huge risk as he could have killed the boy"

and I agree, it should be mentioned that this boy was indeed Jenner's own son.

Where did you get your information from, Alpha5?

I find it all very heavy going, too scientific, but you haven't mentioned what I found out with just a simple search:
"The oldest known case of smallpox was that of Pharaoh Ramses V of Egypt who died in the twelfth century BC. His mummy reveals that the young king's face and torso were covered with blisters characteristic of smallpox."


"In 165 AD the Roman Empire was devastated by a smallpox epidemic that raged for fifteen years killing tens of millions. Romans were completely vulnerable to smallpox, the disease having suddenly emerged from Asia".

This is surely worth a mention in the "History" section.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 6


Hi there,

I disagree that it's too scientific, I thought the entry hit the right note with regards to technical information.

However, I do think it's a bit too apocalyptic, and I'm not sure what your doom and gloom is trying to serve. There are many dangerous diseases and viruses in the world (what about HIV?) and the danger of smallpox has receded massively over the last century. I find it quite hard to believe that it's the next big disaster.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the entry!


A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 7

NAITA (Join ViTAL - A1014625)

I have to agree with Gubernatrix here, its a bit apocalyptic. But I'll make some other comments anyway. smiley - smiley

"British soldiers gave blankets saturated in smallpox to the tribesmen." This should be 'blankets from smallpox victims', they had no way to 'saturate' anything with viruses.

"unofficially though the factory is still operational and has not been demolished..."
This is a statements that cries out for a source, or several. If you can't give any fairly authorative ones, I suggest you remove it, or change it to. 'Some believe that the factory is still operational'

"The virus lands on a cell and injects the nucleus with its strand of DNA and then dies." Whether or not viruses 'live' is still a bit undecided isn't it?

"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."

'transmitted between person to person' should be 'transmitted from person to person'

"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:"

This needs something like "can be done in case of a biological attack using smallpox"

All in all a decent entry, but it needs some more facts and sources to appear less like a conspiracy theory.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 8

Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman

Smallpox is not the most deadly of the viruses by any measure, just one of the nastiest. It has no animal reservoir, is only spread by direct contact, has a narrow range of genetic variation and a very short incubation period (i.e. no carrier state), causes a rapid and effective antibody response and is easy to recognise. This has made it very easy to eradicate by vaccination: rather like shooting fish in a barrel. The last smallpox fatality was recorded in the late 1970's.

I found the tone of the article rather sensationalist, in contrast with the facts given above. I think this needs a more measured treatment and better attention to both the reality and the writing. However, it is a good basis for an article.


A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 9


Thankyou for all the help everyone, I shall now go ahead and fix these errors and add things where nessecary.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 10


Fixed a few of these things, what do you think now!

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 11

The Anonymous Researcher

You need capital W and K for World and Killer in the title.

I know it's picky, it just bugs me.smiley - smiley

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 12

NAITA (Join ViTAL - A1014625)

smiley - erm Well, I can't see you've done anything about modifying the apocalyptic tendency that was pointed out by me and others.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 13

Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman

I concur: the tone of the article is a bit hysterical, and seems like it should end by telling us to lie down and put a paper bag over our heads.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 14


sometime life isnt all rosy - i see no problem with the tone of the last para.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 15


I find the comment about viruses being more deadly than bacteria rather hopelessly innaccurate. The worlds biggest killer diseases are not necessarily viral - Tuberculosis is bacterial and malaria is more complex still... Black Death wiped our nearly half the population of Europe in the the 14th-15th centuries, not viral either, bacterial once more.
Also, not all viruses are made of DNA. HIV for example is a retro-virus which means it is in fact RNA based. Quite a famous example.

There is indeed a very good basis for this article but I have to agree that is rather sensationalist. The disease used to be rife in many countries but there was no great Plague-like apocolpyse.
A change of emphasis and it will be fine for the guide in my opinion. smiley - smiley


A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 16


Modern viruses are virus enduced. Most Bactira can be killed now with anti biotics. Therefore, viruses are more deadly. Also, thankyou for the Retrovirus info, Ill encorparate it when I find time

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 17


Nope, the biggest killer disease in the world is still TB I believe - sorry but what you say is simply not accurate.
The virulence of most viruses against us is zero, just like with most bacteria. With both, there are a very small minority that are pathogenic - there simply is no way you can make a statement like that. Really virulent bacteria can be treated no more successfully than you claim viruses can be.

I *do* like the article but glaring comments like the one both myself and Felonious Monk have commented on are not going to endear it to people who work with and/or know about such organisms.

Bye for now smiley - smiley


A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 18

NAITA (Join ViTAL - A1014625)

Here's a very relevant link.

Unfortunately it supports the doomsday view of this article, but then the Bush-government has been a paranoid lot after 911.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 19


Personally now I've though about it more the doomesday aspect is not necessarily what worries me most about this article.

It states that this is the 'newest form of warfare' Yet earlier on in the article mentions that British Soldiers were guilty of Biological Warfare more than 300 years ago (in fact Plague ridden bodies were once hurled over city walls during sieges - this was done during the time of the crusades I believe) so in fact it is a very old form of warfare. Mechanised warfare being *much* more recent.
Also, in the terms this article is thinking in, it hasn't actually been done yet - so it isn't in fact yet a form of warfare at all - has biological warfare been used on a large scale in the 20th century? I'm not aware of any incidents - but I'm sure someone will let me know if there are. If it hasn't actually happened yet then in fact we don't know just how deadly it would be.
Morover, surely nuclear war is the most deadly form of warfare anyhow.
I'm fairly sure that if a country was known for sure to have used a large scale anthrax or smallpox attack against the USA for example I think it would find itself on the wrong end of a nuke fairly swiftly. I think the Japanese could testify just how deadly those things are.

This is not to say the article is bad, just that its emphasis needs to be changed from the innaccurate to the accurate in my opinion.

A876567 - Smallpox - A world killer

Post 20


No country would attack any nuclear power, they are not stupid (unless they had nukes themselves) and as for the age, it is only now that people have started to make their own viriuses. That Russian facility i mentioned, one of its functions was to modifiy the known strains of smallpox to make them more destructive, more cotageous and genraly NASTIER!

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