Smallpox: The Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer

Smallpox: The Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer

by D.A. Henderson
     
 

ISBN-10: 1591027225

ISBN-13: 9781591027225

Pub. Date: 06/23/2009

Publisher: Prometheus Books

For more than 3000 years, hundreds of millions of people have died or been left permanently scarred or blind by the relentless, incurable disease called smallpox. In 1967, Dr. D.A. Henderson became director of a worldwide campaign to eliminate this disease from the face of the earth.

This spellbinding book is Dr. Henderson’s personal story of how he led the

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Overview

For more than 3000 years, hundreds of millions of people have died or been left permanently scarred or blind by the relentless, incurable disease called smallpox. In 1967, Dr. D.A. Henderson became director of a worldwide campaign to eliminate this disease from the face of the earth.

This spellbinding book is Dr. Henderson’s personal story of how he led the World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate smallpox—the only disease in history to have been deliberately eliminated. Some have called this feat "the greatest scientific and humanitarian achievement of the past century."

In a lively, engrossing narrative, Dr. Henderson makes it clear that the gargantuan international effort involved more than straightforward mass vaccination. He and his staff had to cope with civil wars, floods, impassable roads, and refugees as well as formidable bureaucratic and cultural obstacles, shortages of local health personnel and meager budgets. Countries across the world joined in the effort; the United States and the Soviet Union worked together through the darkest cold war days; and professionals from more than 70 nations served as WHO field staff. On October 26, 1976, the last case of smallpox occurred. The disease that annually had killed two million people or more had been vanquished–and in just over ten years.

The story did not end there. Dr. Henderson recounts in vivid detail the continuing struggle over whether to destroy the remaining virus in the two laboratories still that held it. Then came the startling discovery that the Soviet Union had been experimenting with smallpox virus as a biological weapon and producing it in large quantities. The threat of its possible use by a rogue nation or a terrorist has had to be taken seriously and Dr. Henderson has been a central figure in plans for coping with it.

New methods for mass smallpox vaccination were so successful that he sought to expand the program of smallpox immunization to include polio, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccines. That program now reaches more than four out of five children in the world and is eradicating poliomyelitis.

This unique book is to be treasured—a personal and true story that proves that through cooperation and perseverance the most daunting of obstacles can be overcome.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591027225
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
06/23/2009
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
989,939
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Richard Preston....................11
Preface....................19
CHAPTER 1. THE DISEASE, THE VIRUS, AND ITS HISTORY....................31
CHAPTER 2. THE WORLD DECIDES TO ERADICATE SMALLPOX....................57
CHAPTER 3. CREATING A GLOBAL PROGRAM....................79
CHAPTER 4. WHERE TO BEGIN? A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES-BRAZIL AND INDONESIA....................107
CHAPTER 5. AFRICA-A FORMIDABLE AND COMPLICATED CHALLENGE....................129
CHAPTER 6. INDIA AND NEPAL-A NATURAL HOME OF ENDEMIC SMALLPOX....................157
CHAPTER 7. AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, AND BANGLADESH-THE LAST STRONGHOLD OF VARIOLA MAJOR....................187
CHAPTER 8. ETHIOPIA AND SOMALIA-THE LAST COUNTRIES WITH SMALLPOX....................213
CHAPTER 9. SMALLPOX-POST-ERADICATION....................241
CHAPTER 10. SMALLPOX AS A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON....................269
CHAPTER 11. LESSONS AND LEGACIES OF SMALLPOX ERADICATION....................301
Acknowledgments....................313
Sources....................315
Index....................321

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