World Health Organization smallpox eradication medallion,

38 Years Ago Today Smallpox Declared Eradicated

Today, May 8, 2018 is the 38th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s proclamation of a smallpox-free world. The photo above is the commemorative medallion presented to my husband for his part in eradicating that terrifying scourge.

I’m posting this brief note before my next regular post just to mark that moment in time. An emotional one to those of us who moved to the far corners of the globe, as the workers or as family, in pursuit of smallpox eradication.

Target Zero
My husband’s certificate of the ORDER OF THE BIFURCATED NEEDLE.

The last case of naturally acquired smallpox surfaced in 1977. But the World Health Organization scoured every nook and cranny of the planet to make sure no other case was lurking, hidden, before certifying that smallpox had been eradicated.

This is a good time to read the following interview with Dr. Bill Foege, the genius behind the method that made eradication possible. He is a true public health icon, but is a compassionate and humble man who resists that label.

“Be Thankful You were Born after the Smallpox Vaccine”

Thanks for joining me today in observing this anniversary. Watch for my regular blog post tomorrow.

 

8 thoughts on “38 Years Ago Today Smallpox Declared Eradicated

    1. It took an entire international army of workers, volunteers and families. It’s humbling to realize we were a part of it. Thanks for your comment, Pam Fox.

  1. It is certainly a day to celebrate! !Thank you for traveling so far with your husband and being the one
    “who also served” as he did his dedicated work for the good of the world.

  2. What a great honor to know the huge role your husband played in conquering this amazing health problem that existed for so many years and killed and disfigured so many people. Congratulations to you and your children for the bravery and strength you displayed during those difficult years.

    1. Thanks, Janice. I often think that we–the workers and their families–are the ones honored to have been a part of the great achievement. It was an experience like few others for sure.

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