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Smallpox

In the aftermath of the events of September and October 2001, the U.S. government is taking precautions to be ready to deal with a bioterrorist attack using smallpox as a weapon.

As a result of these efforts:

  1. There is a detailed nationwide smallpox response plan designed to quickly vaccinate people and contain a smallpox outbreak
  2. There is enough smallpox vaccine to vaccinate everyone who would need it in the event of an emergency (Centers for Disease Control, 2002).

The Calvert County Health Department, along with all counties in the state, has submitted a smallpox vaccination plan to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Phase 1 of the plan is to have in place a pre-vaccinated health workforce that could implement a larger-scale vaccination effort and provide patient care if a smallpox outbreak were to occur. Additionally, the plan includes Calvert County's response to an actual smallpox event.

In the event of a smallpox outbreak, Calvert County's public safety and health officials in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are prepared to respond quickly to protect you and your family. If you have questions about smallpox you can call the Calvert County Health Department, Disease Surveillance and Control Division during business hours at 410.535.5400.

Smallpox Basics (information from Centers for Disease Control)

About the Disease

Smallpox is a serious, highly contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is vaccination. Smallpox outbreaks have occurred from time to time for thousands of years, but the disease is now extinct after a successful worldwide vaccination program. The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949. The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977.

About the Vaccine and Getting Vaccinated

The smallpox vaccine helps the body develop immunity to smallpox. Currently, the United States has a big enough stockpile of smallpox vaccine to vaccinate everyone who might need it in the event of an emergency. Production of new vaccine is underway.

Learn More:
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/

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