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Medical News and Perspectives
March 5, 2003

The Siren Song of Disease Eradication

JAMA. 2003;289(9):1090-1091. doi:10.1001/jama.289.9.1090

Bethesda, Md.—The man credited with leading the successful effort to wipe natural smallpox from the planet told an audience of scientists here that disease eradication campaigns no longer make sense and in fact may be counterproductive.

"For those of us in public health, the thought of eradicating disease has long been a siren song," said D.A. Henderson, MD, MPH, at the Fogarty International Center's 35th anniversary global health lecture series at the National Institutes of Health . "Even [Edward] Jenner himself called for ending the pox scourge."

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