Today in History
October 26, 1977
A Pox Upon It
The last naturally occurring case of smallpox is reported in Somalia. First emerging circa 10 thousand years B.C., smallpox—characterized by bumpy rashes and fluid-filled blisters—devastates human populations all over the world well into the 20th century. In 1796, English scientist Edward Jenner derives a vaccine for the disease from cowpox pustules, and by the late 1800s, several European nations and the United States adopt policies of compulsory vaccination. On December 9, 1979—after two years without a case of smallpox being reported—the World Health Assembly declares the disease is dead, making smallpox the first infectious disease to be eradicated.
Today's Feature History Article
Twenty-five years ago this month, smallpox was officially eradicated. For the Indians of the high plains, it came a century and a half too late
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