Possibility of a Smallpox Outbreak in 2002

From: pchaston (pchaston@supanet.com)
Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 15:56:37 MST

The BBC tonight showed a docudrama on the effects of a terrorist outbreak of
smallpox occurring in New York from April 2002 and leading to a pandemic
that eventually kills sixty million on a global scale.

Melodrama apart, the programme posits that the pandemic spreads rapidly as
the public health systems are unprepared, have insufficient stocks of
smallpox vaccine, and try to strike a balance between containment of the
disease and the prevention of public panic.

The death toll is 1.5 million in the United States alone and the pandemic is
eventually contained through the severe curtailment of civil liberties,
especially the freedom of movement of individuals.

The programme joins a long list of televisual scares, but one of the
unspoken assumptions was that a 'window of opportunity' does exist for such
a terrorist act before the delivery of a sufficient quantity of smallpox
vaccine towards the end of this year.

The URL is not very useful: www.bbc.co.uk/smallpox2002

How accurate is this scenario in tracking such a pandemic? Or should we see
such commentaries as alarmist?

Google provides the Testimony of Michael Moodie
President Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute To the
Subcommittee on International Security,
Proliferation and Federal Services
Committee on Governmental Affairs

7 November 2001


and also a related paper

Risk of a Deliberate Release of Smallpox Virus;
Its Impact on Virus Destruction
D.A. Henderson, M.D., M.P.H.
Working paper - WHO ad hoc Committee on Orthopoxvirus Infections
January 1999


Philip Chaston

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