Monday, July 15, 2024


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce


Smallpox-like Disease Spreading in Africa

Smallpox vaccine

There is a growing epidemic of monkeypox—a close cousin to smallpox—in Africa during the past two years. More than 1,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed among people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 2016, followed by 88 confirmed cases in the Republic of the Congo, over 80 cases in Nigeria, 19 in the Central African Republic, 16 in Cameroon, two in Liberia, and one in Sierra Leone.1 2 3 4 5

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the monkeypox virus is a rare “viral zoonosis,” which means that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. Like smallpox, monkeypox is an orthopoxvirus and symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, although milder. Monkeypox can be fatal in 1-10 percent of cases, while smallpox can be fatal in three out of 10 cases.6

The incubation period for monkeypox disease—from the time of infection to the onset of symptoms—is usually from six to 16 days but has also been known to range from five to 21 days.7

The first five days of monkeypox infection are characterized by fever, severe headache, swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), back pain, muscle aches (myalgia), and an intense lack of energy (asthenia). Within one to three days after the onset of fever, people with monkeypox will experience rashes on their skin, usually beginning on the face, then spreading to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and elsewhere. The rashes will turn into maculopapules (flat lesions) and subsequently into vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, and finally crusts or scabs.7 8

One major difference is that monkeypox causes lymphadenopathy and smallpox does not.7 There is also a difference in the viral protein structure of the two orthopoxvirus infections.9 10 The viral protein structure is where the genetic material of a virus is stored.11 Otherwise, in terms of symptoms, there is little difference between monkeypox and smallpox.

The first warning that monkeypox was becoming a problem in the Republic of Congo was signaled in 2010, when an article in a medical journal published by the US National Academy of Sciences reported that there had been a 20-fold increase in human monkeypox incidence in that country since the 1980s. Researchers suggested that there might be a link between the cessation of smallpox vaccination 30 years earlier and the numbers of people who are “immunologically naïve” to orthopoxviruses.”12

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has referred to the monkeypox epidemic in Africa as a “global health security concern.”13

In 2014, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) published a report, The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Infection, Shedding and Transmission, which noted that, in addition to cases of monkeypox in Africa, there were reported cases of other types of orthopoxvirus infections in humans, such as cowpox in Europe and areas of Asia among children and young adults born after smallpox vaccine campaigns ended in the 1970s.14 By 2014, CDC researchers were already talking about developing new new smallpox vaccines warning that, “Possible smallpox reemergence drives research for third-generation vaccines that effectively neutralize variola virus.”

There is no treatment for monkeypox but human infection with one type of orthopoxvirus is considered to be cross protective with other types.15 Recent media reports have noted that smallpox vaccination offers “cross-protection,” suggesting that the smallpox vaccine could be used to combat monkeypox.5

Smallpox was declared to be eradicated from the world in 1980.16 Routine vaccination against smallpox in the United States was stopped in 1972.17

1 Monkeypox re-emerges in Africa. Healio Mar. 15, 2018.
2 Herriman R. Monkeypox confirmed in Liberia. Outbreak News Today Apr. 11, 2018.
3 FPA Reporter. Two Confirmed Cases of Monkey Pox in Liberia since 1970 (Not Four As Reported). Front Page Africa Apr. 18, 2018.
4 Guest Author. Monkeypox outbreak spreads to five regions in Cameroon. Outbreak News Today June 4, 2018
5 Masterson A. Health authorities issue warning on monkeypox outbreak. Cosmos Mar. 19, 2018.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Smallpox? June 7, 2016.
7 World Health Organization. Monkeypox. June 6, 2018.
8 CDC. Monkeypox.
9 Gaublomme K. Has smallpox really disappeared from the earth? The International Vaccination Newsletter December 1997.
10 Shchelkunov SN, et. al. Human monkeypox and smallpox viruses: genomic comparison. FEBS Letters 509 (1); 66-70 Nov. 30, 2001.
11 Viral protein. Wikipedia.
12 Rimoin AW, Mulembakani PM et al. Major increase in human monkeypox incidence 30 years after smallpox vaccination campaigns cease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2010; 107(37).
13 CDC. Emergence of Monkeypox — West and Central Africa, 1970–2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 67(10); 306–310 Mar. 16, 2018.
14 Fisher BL. Smallpox (Variola) and Live Attenuated Vaccinia Virus (pp. 16-21). The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Virus Infection, Shedding and Transmission. November 2014.  
15 Shchelkunov SN.  An Increasing Danger of Orthopoxvirus Infections. PLOS Pathogens 2013; 9(12).
Cáceres M. The Smallpox Vaccine Was No Silver Bullet. The Vaccine Reaction June 6, 2017.
17 New York State Department of Health. Smallpox Questions and Answers: The Disease and the Vaccine.

7 Responses

  1. So the promise of eradicating a virus with vaccination has turned out to be impossible. Maybe it’s time to admit that supporting the immune system to resist viruses and bacteria is the wiser solution.

  2. but that’s where they test ebola—and there were vaccine tests, this year. What about times of monkeycrox coinciding with ebolavirus?? There was bad ebola on the west side in 2014—it really got away from them, and they did NOT have the vaccines ready to go.
    All that monkeying around with plagues they might use to sell hardy-tested drugs is always dangerous. At any given time, do we know where Executive Branch alphabet Agency monkeys, OR those OUTSIDE the E. Branch and known gov, i.e., CIA, et al., are? Commander In Chiefs only command E. Branch.
    But you sure don’t want to live in a test zone!!!

      1. No, this is not caused by vaccines but by the lack of vaccination. Vaccines against smallpox were highly effective and protected also against the closely related monkeypox virus. After the erradication vaccination was ceased subsequently due to the absence of a highly contagious and dangerous disease. Since then, protective immunity is declining hence the recent increase in monkeypox infections.

        1. Nonsense. The vaccine had nothing to do with the eradication of smallpox. Just reading this article with some critical thinking skills will show you what did eradicate smallpox. In fact the article states in very clearly and also adds the bogus tiring line that the cook got small pox even though he was vaccinated and then it was milder. Geez. people will believe anything these days. As for monkeypox virus and the connection could be as everyone said connected to vaccines using African Green Monkey cells to culture vaccines. Good old Plotkin almost admitted that he caused the AIDS virus to jump from monkeys to humans with his shady vaccine dealings and experiments in the Congo. SV40 =, same story from the Polio vaccine that was contaminated with the viruses from monkeys. Retroviral contamination in vaccines cultured in animal cells is now well established even though the vaccine makers and the pushers seem to ignore the science. Vaccination is a fundamentally flawed process and I think after 220+ years of trying to cover up the mistake we have made it’s probably time to reevaluate the entire thing in the same light as blood letting.

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