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Infectious Disease News July 2013
We celebrate the 35th year without smallpox, once the most serious pestilence known to mankind. The achievement was the product of a global eradication program that was launched in 1967 with a 10-year time target. The last case occurred in October 1977. The total cost of the program was estimated to be about $300 million, one-third of which constituted international contributions. The achievement has been lauded as one of the most important of the 20th century. However, the decision by the 1966 World Health Assembly to undertake this campaign had been controversial. At the time, a global malaria eradication program, then in its 12th year, was failing. Many argued that it was technically impossible to eradicate any disease and questioned the judgment of WHO and professional public health. The decision to proceed was decided by a margin of only two votes.
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