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Boomers are vulnerable to smallpox

2
Gordon MohrPerson was signed in when posted
06-01-2002
09:16 PM ET (US)
Other analysis has suggested immunity might persist in some form for many decades after vaccination -- Google "smallpox immunity persist decades" for some example articles, which predate this latest study.

Also, before there was a vaccine, there was "variolation" -- where you intentionally introduced smallpox into a person by a cut, which gave a milder infection they were likely to survive, conferring longer-term immunity. There's a fascinating account of the importance of this practice during the American Revolutionary War in a New Republic review of the book Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82.

In the event of a smallpox outbreak that outruns new vaccine supplies, I'd expect a return to the practice of variolation... and I wouldn't be surprised if those of us ~30 and up who long ago had a vaccination might be slightly better able to handle either variolation or even airborne infection than those never exposed...
Edited 06-01-2002 09:17 PM
1
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
05-31-2002
02:37 PM ET (US)
I pretty much assumed this.

If smallpox strikes, I'll guess I'll be rushing to the store for a can of flesh-colored spackle and a few sheets of dermotology-grade sandpaper.

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