Small Pox As A Biological Weapon

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Small Pox as a Biological Weapon

Small Pox as a Biological Weapon


Small Pox is a very infectious disease sole to human beings and is caused by either one of the two viruses variants known as Variola minor and Variola major. The name small pox was for the first time used in the 15th century by the Great Britain to distinguish it from another infectious disease 'great pox'. Since then the last naturally occurring case of the small pox was identified on October 26 1997 (Rao, 1972).

Small Pox confines in small blood vessels of the throat, mouth and the skin, and results in a typical maculopapular rash and later on into fully raised blisters which are fluid filled. Variola Major develops even a more serious disease and results in an overall 30 - 30 percent mortality rate. Variola Minor on the other hand is a milder form of disease which is also known as milk pox, alastrim, Cuban itch and cotton pox and has a morality rate of about 1 percent. There are many long term complications associated with the Variola Major which include permanent scars on the face and which develops on 65 - 85 percent of its victims (Rao, 1972). Less common complications include corneal ulceration which results in blindness, arthritis which results in deformities in limbs, and this is seen about in 2 - 5 percent of its victims (Alibek & Handelman, 1999).


Small pox has been believed to develop in the human populations as early as about 10,000 BC. It has killed about 40,000 Europeans each year during the 18th century closing years and has been also responsible for a third of all blindness cases in that time, and killed 80 percent of all the infected children who were 20 - 60 percent of the overall population of the people suffering from this disease. It has also been responsible for a death toll of over 300 - 500 million people in the 20th century. The world health organization in 1967 reported about two million people who died in 1967 out of an estimated 15 million people. Throughout the 19th and the 20th century various vaccination campaigns by the world health organization helped eradicate the small pox by 1979 and became one of the two infectious diseases which has been eradicated, the other was rinderpest which was eradicated in 2011 (Alibek & Handelman, 1999).

The fact that small pox is a very fatal and contagious disease; it could be a destructive biological weapon. Moreover, the first ever recognized used of this disease as a bioterrorism weapon was documented during the Indian and French wars which happened in the 1700s. British in the North America were fought by the Native Americans with the French, and the British intentionally distributed blankets which were used by the small pox victims in order to expose it the disease to the Native Indians (Live virus which causes the small pox can remain on surfaces, bedding and clothing for up to more ...
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