Smallpox is an infamous virus that is related to chickenpox but much more deadly. It is passed by person to person contact and is very contagious.
Symptoms of the disease include:
As the disease progresses:
Smallpox kills through internal bleeding caused by its assault on your liver, heart, throat, lungs and intestines. Those who survive bear deformities called pockmarks. Smallpox caused uncountable numbers of cases over the last two thousand years, many of which resulted in deformity, blindness and death.
Smallpox is ancient. It has been killing humans for over two thousand years. On September 11, 1978 the last person in the history of medicine died of smallpox. Her name was Janet Parker, and she was forty years old. It is possible she contracted the disease while using a phone near a ventilation duct leading to an otherwise sealed smallpox lab, but that is just one theory. One year after her death, the world health organization, (WHO), proclaimed their long awaited victory over the smallpox virus. An end to a war between species that began over two hundred years ago with Edward Jenners discovery that cowpox could be made into a vaccine for smallpox. Cowpox is a virus similar to smallpox, but does not cause disease in man.
When Europeans first came to America they gave the native Americans blankets infected with smallpox. The native Americans had never been exposed to the virus in the past and died in large numbers. thus effectively destroying much resistance to white settlement on the coast.
During the 16th century, Spanish missionaries forced millions of Aztec Indians to kiss a crucifix in their effort to convert them to Christianity. Two million Aztecs died of smallpox shortly thereafter.
During the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antonius (161-180 a.d.), two thousand Romans perished at the hands of smallpox every day.
Small pox exists only in freezers at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia and at the Russia's Research Institute of Viral Preparations in Moscow. While these sites are heavily guarded and the exact locations of the sites have not been made available to the public, many people believe that smallpox could be taken by terrorists or unleashed by a natural disaster. These people think that these last samples of smallpox should be destroyed completely. Another point is that by destroying Smallpox, it would help demonstrate that it is considered highly illegal to work with smallpox as it could be a form of biological warfare.
Some people however, believe that smallpox should be preserved for study, in case of an out break of a similar virus. Others question the morality of killing the virus. After all, this would be the first intentional destruction of a natural species by man. Would this intentional destruction of a living species hurt the food chain? It doesn't really matter at this point because smallpox has been effectively removed from the food chain.
Of course it is possible that Smallpox or a variant of it lives in some as of yet undiscovered place, perhaps in the deep jungles of Africa or the mountains of Peru, If that is the case, it may be prudent to keep smallpox for study.