News / 

Smallpox immunity may last a lifetime

Save Story

Estimated read time: Less than a minute

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

BALTIMORE, Aug 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- New tests indicate smallpox vaccinations may provide people with life-long immunity.

This means any terrorist attack using smallpox might not be as widespread as initially feared and fewer people might die.

Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, following a worldwide vaccination campaign.

But small amounts of the virus remained frozen in various nations' laboratories for possible future use as a weapon.

New Scientist magazine said routine smallpox vaccinations ceased during the 1970s. That means most westerners born since then have not been vaccinated, making smallpox - a highly contagious disease that kills a third of its victims -- potentially a horrific biological weapon.

Just how horrific depends on whether people who were vaccinated retained their immunity.

A new study by D.A. Henderson of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland indicates many people who were vaccinated against smallpox retain their immunity and would live through any smallpox epidemic.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast