Quote of the Day
Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.
William S. Burroughs
I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox.
Oh, if I had been loved at the age of seventeen, what an idiot I would be today. Happiness is like smallpox: if you catch it too soon, it can completely ruin your constitution.
The Carter Center has the only existing international taskforce on disease eradication. Which means a total elimination of a disease on the face of the Earth. In the history of the world, there's only been one disease eradicated: smallpox. The second disease, I think, is gonna be guinea worm.
There are cases where government-to-government aid actually has worked. Look at the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of polio. But these are really top down solutions that require government-to-government support and aid.
Infectious diseases introduced with Europeans, like smallpox and measles, spread from one Indian tribe to another, far in advance of Europeans themselves, and killed an estimated 95% of the New World's Indian population.
Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.
Smallpox was the worst disease in history. It killed more people than all the wars in history.
In the nearer term, I think various developments in biotechnology and synthetic biology are quite disconcerting. We are gaining the ability to create designer pathogens, and there are these blueprints of various disease organisms that are in the public domain - you can download the gene sequence for smallpox or the 1918 flu virus from the Internet.
I hope that some day the practice of producing cowpox in human beings will spread over the world - when that day comes, there will be no more smallpox.
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