I don't know if this is a topic of conversation around your dinner table, but I've been talking about it a lot recently.

When smallpox hits a previously uninfected population, the death rate can go as high as 95%. This was what it hit in South America after the Spanish landed there, based on some in-depth archaeological and historical research I did in college 20 years ago. I'm assuming that hasn't changed.

When the smallpox vaccine is given they expect like 1 in 40,000 to die. (I read that somewhere.)
CBS says it's 1 in 15 million.
AMNews says it is more than 1 in 1 million.
VaccinationNews says 1 in 1/2 mill.
Somebody's website that looks historical says that more people die in a smallpox outbreak after vaccination than before.
This site says smallpox outbreaks were wiped out when vaccines were used. –Which is true, because there has been NO smallpox in the world in 25 years.
Journal of Young Investigators has a really good article and overview, although they seem to be leaning against the vaccine.

I don't know about you, but if someone is throwing smallpox around, or is potentially doing it, then I am going to take the risk and get my kids vaccinated, as soon as it becomes available. I'll just have to pray they aren't allergic.

If you were born after 1972 you probably have not been vaccinated. That's when they quit doing it routinely in the US. My little sister did not get the vaccine because she had increased susceptibility to some illnesses, including smallpox, because of something she got in the nursery when she was born. But most people born before 1972 have been innoculated.

Go to this CDC website to read about smallpox: types, history, etc.

1 thought on “Smallpox

  1. This smallpox thing is really scary, indeed. Just wanted to pass on, though, that pregnant women and folks with a history of eczema should definitely not get the vaccination, unless they've actually been exposed to smallpox (this is also on the CDC's website). People with eczema also need to be protected for a few weeks from those who've been vaccinated because their skin lacks certain peptides that would be protective and it can cause the virus that is used for the vaccination to run rampant on their skin. This is a sometimes fatal condition, but nevertheless difficult to treat and extremely painful and nasty. It can also happen to regular folks who scratch the vaccination site and then, for instance, rub their eye. It's a live virus so you have to be incredibly cautious. Back when they gave the smallpox vaccine regularly, most people with known eczema were not vaccinated–although I've heard of some who were and had no problems whatsoever. This might also be important to some of those who are wondering if they ever got the vaccine, but I've heard that anyone who received it in the past would no longer have sufficient protective since it was so long ago. I have tons of questions about this since my daughter has eczema. I have a relative whose neighbors have some military connections and she says she's gonna wait to see what they do, and vaccinate as soon as her neighbors do. They all have eczema histories, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.


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