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Smallpox Vaccination - Essay Example

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Smallpox is a highly contagious disease unique to humans which is caused by either of two virus variants named Variola major and Variola minor. V. major. Among the two the second one is the deadlier form and has a mortality rate of 3-35%, while V. minor causes a milder form of disease called alastrim and kills only about 1% of its victims (Ryan and Ray 525-7; Behbehani 455-509)…
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Smallpox Vaccination
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Download file to see previous pages Since smallpox vaccine comes with side effects, it is argued that it should not be administered. It is true that the smallpox vaccine is associated with certain side effects: it is estimated that approximately one in 1 million primary vaccinees and one in 4 million revaccinees will die from adverse vaccine reactions (Maurer et al. 889).
There are more severe health related complications that may follow either primary vaccination or revaccination. For instance, it may have and impact on the nervous system that may result in postvaccinial encephalitis, encephalomyelitis, and encephalopathy, and more serious skin infections. Progressive vaccinia (vaccinia necrosum) generally occurs in individuals with weakened immune systems and eczema vaccinatum generally occurs in people with eczema and related skin diseases. Such complications may progressively result in severe disability, permanent neurological damage, and sometimes even death. History of vaccination has seen approximately 1 death per million primary vaccinations and 1 death per 4 million revaccinations. In most of the cases death is often the result of postvaccinial encephalitis or progressive vaccinia. ...
Hence, smallpox vaccines should be produced further and should be used in case of any sudden outbreak.
It is estimated that 300-500 million deaths in the 20th century was due to smallpox. The World Health Organization estimated that in 1967, 15 million people were the victims of the disease and that two million died in that year due to smallpox (WHO Factsheet n. pag, 2007). World Health Organization certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979 after successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries (WHO A52/5, 1999). While the last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949, the last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977. After the disease was eliminated or eridicated from the world, routine vaccination against smallpox among the general public was stopped because it was no longer necessary for prevention. United States discontinude the smallpox immunisation in 1972 and also halted the production of vaccine in 1983.
Today, stockpiled vaccine has been used only for laboratory researchers working on orthopoxviruses. Since most of the population today is considered to be nonimmune, there is concern raised as to whether smallpox immunization should be resumed or not. This is in view of the current threat from the bioterrorists (Baltimore and McMillan 110-4).
There are four factors that have contributed to skepticism of smallpox vaccine's effectiveness. The dubious notion that lesions from cowpox, a disease of cattle, could prevent smallpox, a related but different human disease is the first point. Secondly during the 19th century, which preceded modern bacteriology and the age of refrigeration, it was impossible to know exactly what was in any given dose of vaccine. Thirdly the reported amplification ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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