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Smallpox (vaccine-preventable)

The last case of smallpox on earth occurred in Somalia in 1977. In 1980 the World Health Organization certified smallpox had been eradicated from the planet. Currently, the only known remaining samples of smallpox virus are held in secure facilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, and the Institute for Viral Preparations in Koltsovo, Russia. Although destruction of all remaining samples of smallpox virus has been proposed, the United States government has decided to permanently store its samples of smallpox virus. Allegations and rumors of smallpox virus stocks in other locations have not been verified.

As a result of the successful eradication program, smallpox vaccine was removed from the commercial market in 1983, and is no longer a licensed product in the United States. The U.S. Public Health Service maintains an emergency stockpile of approximately 15 million doses.

At the present time, smallpox vaccine is supplied only to certain laboratory workers who are at risk of infection with smallpox-like viruses as a result of their occupation. The CDC is authorized to release the vaccine only to these workers under an Investigational New Drug (IND) permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The IND does not allow the CDC to release smallpox vaccine to any other person for any reason.

Disease Reporting

Although naturally-occurring smallpox has been eradicated, its reappearance would have extreme public health significance. As with any unusual cases of diseases of potential public health significance, health-care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report cases and suspect cases of smallpox to local health departments or the OOPHD 971-673-1111 immediately upon identification. Cases are subject to quarantine.

Disease reporting form (pdf) for health-care practitioners

See our disease reporting page for information on how to report and for telephone numbers of local health departments.

For county health departments:

Smallpox: Investigative guidelines (pdf)
Smallpox: Part one (pdf)
Smallpox: Case report form (pdf)

See Also

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