By Christina England
Early this week news began to break of an outbreak of smallpox in Jharkhand India. Three people in Gumla were reported to have died of the infectious disease and another five people were reported to be ill. The local health department have immediately rushed in to see if the deaths were from the ‘so called ‘ eradicated disease smallpox.
According to the Indian news channel ZeeNews. the Health Secretary AK Sarkar said that the health department was in the process of authenticating reports. However, he later added that he was not in a position to confirm or deny whether the outbreak was smallpox.
The WHO certainly appear to have believed in the vaccines success. So much so in fact that on the 17 May 2010 in Geneva a statue commemorating the 30th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox was unveiled in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Margaret Chan. A press release from the WHO at the time states:
“The eradication of smallpox shows that with strong mutual resolve, teamwork and an international spirit of solidarity, ambitious global public health goals can be attained,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO.
‘Statue commemorates smallpox eradication’ (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2010/smallpox_20100517/en/index.html)
Certainly a convincing show of solidarity wouldn’t you say? If this latest outbreak of smallpox turns out to be genuine the WHO would look pretty stupid wouldn’t they?