Last smallpox major infection, 1975

Last smallpox major infection, 1975

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Credit: CDC/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Last smallpox major infection. Image 1 of 2. This case, one of the last known infections of smallpox occuring naturally in humans, was reported on 16 October 1975. The infected patient is Rahima Banu, a 2-year-old girl from Bangladesh. She has the pustular rash characteristic of smallpox, a potentially fatal infection by the Variola virus. She has the more deadly form, Variola major. This was not the last smallpox infection, as the less deadly Variola minor infection was reported until 1977. Smallpox killed millions during the 20th century. A World Health Organisation vaccination campaign successfully eradicated the disease by 1979. Banu survived the infection, as can be seen in image N536/035, taken 25 years later.

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