The Research Enterprise|
Nature, nurture and my experience with smallpox eradication
A career influenced by chance events
MJA 1999; 171: 638-641
Family and education -
Infectious diseases -
The Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme -
Career outline -
Why smallpox could be eradicated -
Remaining problems with smallpox -
Subsequent eradication programs -
Received 27 February 2021, accepted 27 February 2021
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- Burnet FM, Fenner F. The production of antibodies. 2nd edition. Melbourne: Macmillan, 1949.
- MacCallum P, Tolhurst JC, Buckle G, Sissons HA. A new mycobacterial infection in man. J Path Bact 1948; 60: 93-116.
- Fenner F, Ratcliffe FN. Myxomatosis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965.
- Burnet FM. Principles of animal virology. New York: Academic Press, 1955.
- Fenner F. The biology of animal viruses. New York: Academic Press, 1968.
- World Health Organization. The global eradication of smallpox. Final Report of the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication, Geneva, 1979. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1980.
- Fenner F, Henderson DA, Arita I, et al. Smallpox and its eradication. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1988.
- A severe disease, with high mortality and serious after-effects
- No animal reservoir of the virus
- Very few subclinical cases
- Cases were not infectious before the appearance of rash, which appeared after the onset of illness and fever
- An acute, self-limited disease; recurrence of infectivity never occurred
- Only one serotype
- An effective, heat-stable vaccine was available and inexpensive
- Country-wide elimination in Europe and the Americas showed that global eradication was possible
- Few social or religious barriers to the recognition of cases
- The costs of quarantine and vaccination of travellers provided a strong financial incentive for wealthy countries to contribute
- The WHO Smallpox Eradication Unit had inspiring leaders and enlisted many devoted health workers
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