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Smallpox scabs from 1867

Smallpox scabs from 1867

C011/3615

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Credit

CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Smallpox scabs from 1867. These scabs are from the archives of the Virginia Historical Society, USA, and were suspected to contain the smallpox virus (Variola major). They were found in 2011 during preparations for a museum exhibition. The scabs were retrieved by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and taken to their headquarters for testing. The tests determined that the scab did contain virus from the smallpox vaccine, but did not contain the active virus. Smallpox was eradicated after a successful worldwide vaccination program. The last naturally occurring case was in Somalia in 1977.

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