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August 26, 1974

Medical News

JAMA. 1974;229(9):1145-1157. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230470001001

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Victorious end appears in sight in age-old war on smallpox  One more effort could lead to the eradication of smallpox—making it the first communicable disease to be deliberately wiped out, says the director of the Center for Disease Control.The remaining major smallpox reservoir is in the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent. The disease persists in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and in small parts of Ethiopia. There is hope that the old scourge may be gone for good in the very near future, said David J. Sencer, MD, director of the CDC.It is not the first time hopes have risen with the prospect of eradicating a disease.The World Health Organization "got burned" when it tried to eliminate malaria with inadequate technology, Dr. Sencer noted. But smallpox can be permanently eradicated, he said."There is no reservoir of the disease outside of man. There are no long-term asymptomatic carriers. There