New smallpox-like virus emerges


Oh man. Even though smallpox is eradicated, the cessation of smallpox vaccination has allowed the surfacing of a brand new orthopoxvirus. Two herdsmen in Georgia (ETA: the country, not the state) contracted this new virus after working with sick cattle (both recovered). You can read the abstract of the analysis of the samples here.

Does this mean we should start vaccinating at-risk groups such as those with close contact with livestock? Or just keep a close eye for any suspicious illnesses in these groups?

Either way, this is food for thought when thinking about what we should maintain vaccinations for. Even though the pathogens are gone, continual vaccinations may be important for keeping them and related species under check. Which is why it's even more important that people vaccinate!

Pictured: EM of smallpox virus by Wikipedia user PhD Dre