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TBE Meningococcal Disease Influenza Smallpox
 


  The Global Threat of Smallpox

Since September 11th , 2001, the world has changed. The consensus now is that we must be prepared for the possibility that terrorists might use biological weapons to further their aims.

Russian and American scientists have independently concluded that of all potential bioterror agents, smallpox poses the greatest threat. The virus is highly contagious, has a low infective dose, it is stable, it could be easily deployed and it kills about a third of those it infects.

Officially, the smallpox virus is only located in two places: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta , Georgia and the Vector laboratories in Novosibirsk in Russia - both working under strict protocols. However, it can never be fully verified that countries destroyed all vials of smallpox after the eradication programme ended. Several scientists who defected from the former Soviet Union have confirmed that stocks of biological weapons were held, including a stockpile of 20 tons of smallpox virus.

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