Daily Israel Report

The Dangers Of Smallpox

First Publish: 10/23/2001, 5:51 PM

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, former Chief Medical Officer of the IDF, warns that the world faces an even greater biological danger than anthrax, namely, smallpox. \"Terrorists may get their hands on this germ,\" Eldad said, \"and the danger is that the world is not vaccinated against it. Smallpox, as opposed to anthrax, is a contagious disease, and can be easily spread. However, about 30 years ago, the World Health Organization proudly announced that smallpox had been eradicated, thanks to a vaccine that had been developed. The WHO was so proud of this accomplishment that it practically imposed sanctions on whoever vaccinated against smallpox, or even kept the vaccines around... If Heaven forbid, a smallpox plague hits the world, it could be an unprecedented catastrophe that could cost tens of millions of lives.\"

Eldad said that the United States, \"with total disregard for the WHO directives, has already issued a $501 million tender for 300 million doses of smallpox vaccinations, so that its entire population can be vaccinated... Israel should demand that the WHO change its guidelines, for this is not a local danger, but worldwide.\" Eldad acknowledged that it was not a simple matter to spread the smallpox germ, \"but the terrorists have already shown that they have the ability to overcome technical difficulties.\"