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Casshew
12-27-2003, 10:46 AM
Ick!

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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) Government health researchers plan to conduct tests next year on the contents of a yellowed envelope apparently filled with scabs from 19th-century smallpox vaccinations.

The scabs, found in a New Mexico university library, could shed light on the development of American smallpox vaccines, an official at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

There's also a slim chance, researchers say, that the scabs could yield live smallpox virus, which is believed to reside in only two laboratories in the world. Smallpox in the general public was eradicated a generation ago, but it is often mentioned as a potentially devastating biological weapon.

"This could lead to a greater evolutionary understanding of the smallpox vaccine we're using in the U.S.," Inger Damon, chief of the CDC pox virus group, told The Washington Post. "It all depends on what's in there."

Researchers believe the scabs are either from smallpox vaccine patients or from victims, whose scabs were used in an early inoculation procedure.

The small packet, found tucked between pages of a library book in Santa Fe, now rests in a freezer at the CDC, thanks in part to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick.

It was found March 31 by librarian Susanne Caro in an 1888 book on Civil War medicine at the College of Santa Fe's Fogelson Library. An inscription on the envelope reading, "scabs from vaccination of W.B. Yarrington's children," was signed by Dr. W.D.

Full Story from USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-12-26-smallpox-in-envelope_x.htm)

maketoast
12-27-2003, 11:28 AM
Now that's just NASTY! Why on earth would someone do something like that? Could it have been done due to the chance that someone might find them and start the Virus again? Anyway...just's just yuck!