In the ancient novels can often find such a description: "a pox Pitted face." Those who survive a natural (or, as it is called, black) smallpox forever remained a mark the scars on the skin. They were formed because of the most characteristic features of the disease — craters that appear on the body of patients.
Today, smallpox is no more, although once it was considered one of the deadliest diseases of mankind.
The first mention of the outbreaks of smallpox belong to the VI century, but historians have speculated that some of the described early chroniclers of the epidemic similar to the same disease. For example, in the II century, during the reign of the Emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius in Rome was struck by a pestilence, the cause of which was probably smallpox. In the result, the troops are unable to resist the barbarians because of the lack of soldiers: the army is almost certain to recruit — the illness affected a significant part of the population of the Empire.
The full force of the disease fell upon mankind in the Middle ages when because of lack of hygiene of the epidemic spread with lightning speed, mowing down towns and villages.
Smallpox, European countries suffered until the twentieth century. In the XVIII century it was the leading cause of death in European countries — smallpox even killed the Russian Emperor Peter II.
The last major outbreak in Western Europe happened in the 70-ies of the XIX century, then it took over half a million lives.
The Europeans brought smallpox and other countries, and it destroyed not less Indians than guns of the whites. American colonists even used the disease as a biological weapon. Widely known story about how the indigenous inhabitants of the New world gave blankets infected with smallpox. The Indians were dying from an unknown disease, and the settlers took their land.
Only the mass distribution of vaccination put an end to regular outbreaks of smallpox in developed countries.
However, after the mass distribution of vaccines smallpox in the twentieth century continued to deprive of life in poor countries of Africa and Asia. Sometimes the disease "visited" her and familiar places — for example, in Russia, the last outbreak of smallpox was recorded in the late 1950-ies. The virus has brought a tourist from India, died of the disease three.
In 1958, at the XI session of the world health Assembly, the Deputy Minister of health, academician Viktor Zhdanov expressed incredible courage idea: smallpox can win the final, this requires mass vaccination across the globe.
The idea of a Soviet scientist, the world health organization initially met with hostility: who Director-General Marolino, Candau just don't believe that this is possible. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union on its own initiative, began to freely select who millions of doses of the smallpox vaccine to spread in Asia and Africa. Only in 1966, the organization adopted the global program of smallpox eradication. The leading role it played in the Soviet epidemiologists who worked in the most remote corners of the world.
11 years after the start of the program of global vaccination on 26 October 1977, in Somalia the last time in history was diagnosed with "smallpox".
Finally the disease is recognized is defeated at the XXXIII conference of the who in 1980.
And you suddenly come back?
Is it possible the return of this deadly disease, told RT the head of the laboratory of vaccination and immunotherapy of allergic diseases scientific research Institute of vaccines and sera named after I. I. Mechnikov of the Russian Academy of medical Sciences, Professor Mikhail Kostin.
"Viruses can go, because the strains of viruses remain in special laboratories in Russia and the United States. This is done just in case, if necessary, to quickly create a new vaccine — said Kostin. — Development of new vaccines against smallpox is now. So if, God forbid, the need arises, it is possible to be vaccinated".
With the 70-ies of XX century from smallpox not vaccinated, said Costin, because the disease is considered eliminated, and "now is born a generation that has no immunity against smallpox".
According to the Professor, all the infections are controlled, they are controlled by vaccination. If it does not hold, then finally defeated the infection threatens to become unmanageable, and this can lead to serious consequences, especially against the background of calls here and there calls for vaccine refusal.
To date, mankind has not only defeated smallpox — the list of past deadly diseases is gradually expanding. Close to extinction in developed countries such unfortunate companions of humanity, like mumps, pertussis or rubella. A vaccine for the polio virus until recently had three serotype (species). It has been proved that one of them is eliminated. Today a vaccine against the disease contains three types of strain, but two.
But if people refuse the vaccines, the "stretching" of the disease can come back.
"Example of a return of the disease is diphtheria, — commented Costin. — In the nineties people began to refuse vaccination, and the media this initiative is still welcomed. And in 1994-1996 anywhere on the planet diphtheria was not, and the only former Soviet Republic has faced since its epidemic. From other countries, the experts came to have a look at diphtheria!"
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