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Smallpox is a severe infection caused by a virus: the Variola virus. Before the vaccine was discovered in 1796, smallpox infection was common throughout the world.
State public health departments are working with local public health departments and hospitals to further develop their smallpox response plans, which include identifying hospital healthcare workers and public health first responders to serve on Smallpox Response Teams.
On September 23, 2002, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a plan to all states and territories outlining emergency smallpox vaccination procedures in the event of a smallpox outbreak or bio-terrorism attack - Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines.
Understandably, this has raised many questions about smallpox, the potential threat of a bio-terrorist smallpox attack and who should or shouldn't be vaccinated.
We have no evidence that there is currently an increased risk of a smallpox outbreak or bio-terrorism attack; however, since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States has vowed to become prepared for any possible future acts of terrorism, and these vaccinations are a part of that preparedness.
To help answer your questions about smallpox and smallpox vaccinations, Jefferson County Public Health will maintain this webpage with links to the latest information and resources. Smallpox vaccinations are very different from other types of immunizations, and it's important that we all have clear information about those differences.
We will update this page as new information becomes available.
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