Advertisement

Why does smallpox no longer cause epidemic outbreaks?

Before the eighteenth century, smallpox was a serious cause of infectious disease epidemic outbreaks. A potentially fatal illness transmitted by respiratory means, smallpox killed up to 30 percent of those infected by it. In 1796, an English physician named Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine for smallpox and, in fact, coined the term vaccine. Through vaccination, the disease was largely eradicated in the developed world by the middle of the twentieth century. Aggressive vaccination programs were subsequently undertaken in the Third World. The last naturally occurring case of smallpox was diagnosed in Somalia in 1977. Since smallpox has been eradicated as a clinical disease, it no longer causes epidemic outbreaks.

Continue Learning about Smallpox

Is smallpox fatal?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Smallpox can sometimes be fatal. The most common form of smallpox has a fatality rate of about 30 pe...
More Answers
What is manufactured smallpox?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
The smallpox disease does still exist in secure labs for research and vaccine-study purposes. In...
More Answers
How would the government protect us from bioterrorists using smallpox?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
The government has a plan in place to immediately vaccinate people as a way to stop an outbreak ...
More Answers
What should I do if there is an outbreak of smallpox?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
If there is an outbreak of smallpox, you should expect to get a vaccine. The U.S. government has eno...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.