Medicine: Living Disease

Smallpox reappears in Britain

Time and again the World Health Organization has declared smallpox extinct, only to have the ancient scourge reappear like a genie from a virologist's flask. Although the last known case of smallpox occurred in Somalia last October, the disease has not died out. An Englishwoman working at the University of Birmingham Medical School contracted it, presumably from virus escaping from a lab on a floor below. Before the case was diagnosed, a co-worker flew off to North Dakota on a holiday, thereby extending the smallpox alert to the U.S.

So far the only known victim is Janet Parker, 40,...

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