|Smallpox Virus - False colored to demonstrate structure|
Smallpox killed an estimated 300 to 500 million people in the 1900's until it was eradicated in the late 1970's by an aggressive worldwide vaccination campaign.
Smallpox relatives are also particularly virulent. Other members of the orthopoxvirus family include cowpox, monkeypox, vaccinia, etc.
Recently, the CDC has announced a new orthopoxvirus that was discovered in three people from the nation of Georgia in Western Asia. Two of which were herdsmen who had daily contact with cows and other livestock.
Both men had painful blisters covering their body, swollen lymph nodes, and high fevers.
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It is believed that the new poxvirus spread to the two men from cattle. Most of the orthopoxviruses typically infect animals, then jump to humans who have close contact with animals carrying viruses. The new poxvirus is as yet unnamed since little is known about it, however thus far, no human to human spread has been documented.
The CDC interviewed 55 people who had contact with the herdsmen or their cattle. It was found that of nine interviewees (who were not previously vaccinated for smallpox) five had orthopoxvirus antibodies. It was also discovered that some of the herdsmen's cows had previously been exposed, more than likely by the rodents that live in the area.
|Johann Friedrich Voltz - Herdsman and cows, in the distance a village|
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