Eradicating a Virus (Death of a Virus)

He traveled from Mexico to New York, checked into a hotel then developed a rash that turned it to blisters as hard as buckshot. Five days after checking in, he died.
Meanwhile, 3,000 people from 28 states had also booked into the hotel.
The web of exposure spread, leaving the entire city - 6 million people at risk.

He was only one many visitors and war refugees that spread the disease worldwide, resulting in at least 10 million cases a year. It was one of the worst infectious diseases to attack humans. And, between 1880 and 1980, it killed about a half-a-billion people - over three times the number killed in all of the wars during the same period of time.
Those that survived were immune, but for thousands of years the virus survived, being passed from one person to another, without a residual supply in any other animal or nature.

In 1967, the World Health Organization set a goal to eradicate it within ten years.
At first, many governments wanted to do mass vaccinations, but that proved slow and unsuccessful.
So, the team invented the ring vaccination technique.
Wherever an outbreak was found, they vaccinated every person they could find in a community.
In this way, they surrounded each outbreak with a wall of people who were immune.

Children between seven and twelve years of age seemed to know everything that was going on in the villages and helped to report new breakouts.
In 1952, five years after the arrival of the man from Mexico, the virus was eradicated in North America.
The following year, it was eradicated in Europe. But, during the next five years, it was reintroduced 23 times, resulting in 400 cases.
Four years after WHO setting the goal, in 1971, South America was declared free of the virus.
Asia in 1975.
And, in Africa, the last case occurred in 1977.

A little over two years later, on May 8, 1980, the World Health Organization declared that a disease had been eradicated.
No cases of smallpox had occurred anywhere on earth for more than two years or have been reported since - part of the trend toward a better world.

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