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The Art and the Calling
March 2003

The Scars of Smallpox

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(3):279-280. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.3.279

In The Principles and Practice of Medicine, William Osler1 wrote that the patient with smallpox "presents a terrible picture, unequalled in any other disease; one which fully justifies the horror and fright with which small-pox is associated in the public mind." This terrifying image is supported by the World Health Organization's estimate that 10% of all human deaths have been caused by smallpox.2 Accordingly, the eradication of this disease is hailed as one of the great victories of modern medicine.

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