Healthcare Essay Sample-Eradication of Smallpox .

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Small pox brings with it many effects that have a negative effect on the countries health and economy. First, due to the high mortality rate, it brought in the beginning, the population decreased with the loss of important personnel whose ideas and techniques were required in building the country’s economy. The death of members of the royal families led to conflicts and wars due to the struggle for power and this largely affected the country’s economy. Smallpox was also brought about blindness mostly in the 18th century and this led to the loss of work force that could have helped in many areas thus the declination of the country’s economy. It affected the country’s health in that due to the means by which it could be transmitted, the environment was risky for everybody because one could easily meet an infected person without knowing (Stimson & Hodes, 1956).

Define eradication, extinction, elimination and control

Control is defined as the reduction of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, or mortality to an acceptable level, as determined by the country or area in question. “Elimination” is defined as the reduction of disease incidence to zero in a defined geographic area; elimination requires ongoing public health measures to prevent disease reemergence. “Eradication” is defined as the reduction of disease incidence to zero; intervention efforts are no longer required. “Extinction” is defined as the eradication of the pathogen and the destruction of all laboratory isolates. Commitment to disease control, elimination, or eradication depends on the pathogen's biology and requires the political will and resources to maintain gains once they have been achieved (Mark & Henrik, 2009).


Describe the characteristics of smallpox that made it an appropriate candidate for eradication.

One of the main characteristics that made small pox a suitable candidate was its contagiousness that made it to be transmitted directly for one person to the other. This was very risky because it was very easy for one to contract the disease without knowing so the chances of one getting affected while just walking outside were very high. In addition, the disease could also be easily transmitted because an infected person could not show symptoms until an incubation period of around four days thus they could easily infect other people even without knowing they had it (Koplow, 2003). The other reason why it was prioritized was because it was killing many people therefore it had become an epidemic. This was because it was easily transmittable but had no cure thus led to the death of anybody who became affected especially young children. Its undistinguishable rash also helped in that it made it relatively easy to identify with the survivors gaining lifetime immunity. Lastly, it was reasoned that good vaccination coverage would interrupt its spread entirely in that its natural sequence gave the health workers enough time to isolate the victims, trace those who could have been infected by the victims and vaccinate the local population (Mark & Henrik, 2009).

Smallpox is a viral infection, which is unit to human beings. In order to keep on surviving, the virus has to pass from one individual to another in a continuous chain of infection. The virus spread through inhalation of either air droplets or aerosols. Between 12 and 14 days after the infection by the virus, the patient becomes feverish with severe pain all over the body and prostration. Two to three days after the initial signs and symptoms, rashes will develop over the victims face and spread to the extremities. Rashes soon change to vesicular and later to abscess. The patient remains feverish throughout the growth process of the rashes with considerable pain as the rashes increase in size. Progressively, scabs develop which in the end separate and leave bumpy scars on the body. In the second week after the emergence of signs and symptoms, the patient usually dies (Koplow, 2003).

Should a measles eradication program be initiated? Why or why not?

Yes! A Measles Eradication Program should be initiated. This is because it would greatly reduce the mortality rate that is increased by the annual one million deaths caused by measles. Hence, by initiating the program, more lives would be saved resulting into minimum or no deaths associated with measles. Another incentive for the creation of a measles eradication program is to save costs brought about by both prevention and treatment of measles. This costs amount to about 1.5 billion dollars, which is a lot of money and can be used for other significant projects if the disease is eradicated (Mark & Henrik, 2009). In addition, measles is an easily transmittable disease thus eradicating it would prevent its spread and save more lives. It would be also easy to start such a program because of the availability of accurate analytical tests. Consequently, because of the above reasons I would strongly recommend the initiation of a Measles Eradication Program.

In most developed countries, reducing death rates that result from measles infection is one of the priorities of public health sectors. We can define measles infection as the obstruction of transmission of measles across the world in order to stop the use of vaccine in preventing the disease. It is theoretically possible to eradicate measles in the world. This is because there is no animal reservoir that the scientists know to exist and the measles vaccination works with high efficacy. Eradication of the measles would preclude the need for continuous observation of alterations in epidemiology of measles that the measles vaccine may induce (Koplow, 2003).

If polio is eradicated, should we destroy all poliovirus samples? Why or why not?

Yes! Polio is a dangerous and fatal disease that affects small children mostly those below the age of five. The main reason for destroying all poliovirus samples is that if they are not all destroyed, one person may come across them and get affected. This may happen in the sense that as long one child contracts the disease, all the other children in other places are in danger of being infected too. Results of a research done on the victims of polio shows that one in every 200 infections leads to an irreversible paralysis, thus we can conclude that polio is a very dangerous disease that leads to paralysis therefore everything connected to it should be completely destroyed (Koplow, 2003).

In the year 1988, the world health congregation adopted a resolution to eradicate poliomyelitis across the world by the year response to this mandate from the world community, the WHO lead initiative to eradicate with a focus on the following priority areas: development of policies, strategies and technical implication guidelines for poliovirus eradication. The initiative involved coordination of partners to ensure adequate technical and financial support for the initiative. It also involved the establishment of infrastructures, which included human resource, communication, and transportation within the WHO and polio endemic countries to ensure that corresponding activities were perfectively carried out. As we approach the world eradication, issues as when and how vaccination against poliovirus can be stopped have become increasingly important from both public health point of view and industrial perspective. This is because poliovirus vaccine producers may require lead time to adjust to changes in vaccination policy (Mark & Henrik, 2009).

The ultimate goal of any eradication program is to stop using the intervention and to reap the financial benefits of eradication. As poliomyelitis approaches, several strategies for stopping the vaccine are under consideration. However, stopping the vaccine may increase the susceptibility of population to poliovirus. The most important issue is to safeguard the population.  Therefore, for this reason, stopping the administration of poliovirus vaccination is the most critical and far potentially far-reaching of the entire eradication initiative. Several options for stopping vaccination are being discussed. The discussions carry with them advantages and disadvantages, potential long-term implications, and scientific gaps in the knowledge of each option (Mark & Henrik, 2009).

In 1965, why didn’t the World Health Organization immediately undertake a full-scale program after endorsement by the World Health Assembly?

In the year 1965, regardless of the endorsement of a full-scale eradication program by the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization did not instantly commence it. This was because a group of people in the US Communicable Disease Center that was later called the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doubted the sustainability of such an effort due to the previous considerable high cost they had incurred in developing the measles vaccine. They argued that the cost of the measles vaccine, which at that time was over one dollar per dose, was unaffordable to many developing countries. Dr, D. A. Henderson who later came to lead the World Health Organization’s small pox program, led this group. This led to the proposal of an alternative small pox eradication plan (Mark & Henrik, 2009).


Koplow, D.A. (2003). Smallpox: The Right to Eradicate a Global Scourge. California: University of California Press

Mark, M., & Henrik, B. (2009). Measles in Europe: an epidemiological assessment. Copenhagen: Statens Serum Institute

Stimson, P. M., & Hodes, H. L. (1956). A Manual of the Common Contagious Disease. Michigan: University of Michigan.

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