Chandak Sengoopta

The Speckled Monster

The Life and Death of Smallpox

By

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SMALLPOX MUST BE unique in being an affliction that was eradicated by public-health measures before anybody found a way of curing it. The last victim was reported more than thirty years ago; not a single person anywhere has suffered from it since. Fresh epidemics of ‘the spotted death’, we are often reminded, could be started by terrorists; and, if their virus caches are more tangible than a certain dictator’s weapons of mass destruction, humanity’s respite from this scourge may soon be over.

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