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Smallpox as a Bioagent: A Refresher and Update for the SOF Provider

Ahead of Print 2099

Zafar SJ, Shishido AA. Ahead of Print. (Journal Article)


Smallpox plagued humans for millennia until its eradication in 1980 following a successful global campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is the first known biological weapon to be used in war and has been weaponized in the past by the former Soviet Union. To date, smallpox remains a Category A Bioagent and is assessed to be a relevant threat to US military personnel. Given that the last natural case of smallpox occurred more than 40 years ago, a high level of suspicion along with a substantial understanding of the disease process are required to recognize potential future cases. While available countermeasures are limited, several new agents have recently become available for the prevention and treatment of smallpox and have been added to the strategic national stockpile. This review serves as a refresher and update for the clinical disease, to include its epidemiology and management with updated FDA-approved countermeasures.

Keywords: military medicine; bioterrorism; smallpox; bioagents; bioweapon

PMID: 35862852