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Essay on The World Health Organization's Dealing With Smallpox

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Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. Variola major and variola minor are the two clinical types of smallpox. Variola major is the most widespread and severe of the two. Smallpox is unique to human beings, and can be found worldwide. This disease is also known by the Latin name Variola or Variola vera, meaning spotted, or varus, meaning “pimple”. Europe came up with the name smallpox, and later in the 15th century used the name of this disease to distinguish between syphilis (Wikipedia, 2010).
Smallpox is transmitted through the air, and spread by direct contact with an infected person. This disease is very contagious, but does not spread quickly because of its short infectious period (Wikipedia, 2010). On a lesser scale transmission can be via contaminated bed linen or clothes. A person who contracts smallpox can remain healthy and noninfectious for up to 17 days. Flulike symptoms occur initially, then a rash appears first on the face then spreads to the extremities. Other symptoms include muscle pain, malaise, headache, nausea, vomiting, prostration, and back pain. Ulcerative lesions develop in the mouth and nose, and these lesions then discharge large amounts of the virus into the throat. Approximately one-third of people who contract this disease die, but those who survive smallpox were left blind with deep pitted marks mainly on the face (Levin, 2007).
Vaccination is the primary treatment for smallpox, and no medication is currently approved for treatment of this disease. Smallpox vaccination is needed within three days of exposure to prevent and decrease the severity of smallpox. Being vaccinated four to seven days after exposure will also modify the severity of the disease or may offer some d...


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...om a campaign against malaria gave WHO little reason to allocate funding to this program. Millions of people needed to be vaccinated and funds were not available. The eradication program was undermanned, and not until 1966 did more employees work full-time on the program (Levine, 2007).
The director-general told the World Health Assembly (WHA) that lack of funds for vehicles, supplies, and equipment made it hard for the eradication process to start. Political and financial support was distant. The World Health Organization had to depend on public campaigns which provided restricted leadership. This caused people to doubt if the eradication program was attainable, and also gave reason to deny funding and political support. All these factors played a role in WHO not immediately undertaking the eradication program after being endorsed by the WHA (Levine, 2007).




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