How would you react to a reported case of smallpox?

There hasn’t been one, don’t worry. But today’s reports of two more inhalational anthrax cases have got me thinking about worst case scenarios.

Before you react, here’s a summary about smallpox from the CDC

[sup]1[/sup] So the case fatality rate is lower than that of inhalational anthrax, but still quite high.

[sup]2[/sup] Transmissibility, IMHO, is one factor that makes smallpox a far greater threat than anthrax. To infect Americans, an organization could intentionally infect its members and have them travel to the USA during the virus’ incubation period.

[sup]3[/sup] FromABC News

Obviously, there is a clear undersupply of vaccine.

[sup]4[/sup]This is the other really bad thing about smallpox, no treatment.

So if Sam Donaldson announced tonight that a woman in DC is confirmed to have smallpox, what would you do?

Me, I’d want to run for the hills, get out of the country and take my family with me. Likely, others would feel the same way. However, moving away from an infectious epidemic is a practice generally frowned on by public health officers. Expect a rapid response from the government (a strong national guard presence if not martial law) and strict quarantines. Then what do we do? Wait in line for vaccine I guess.

I’m hopeful that this will never happen. Should it happen, it’s hard to imagine how the nation would cope.

“Well,” I might be tempted to think, " it looks like the humans are doing what they do best."

Well, some of us who are old enough were vaccinated back when it still existed. IIRC, that big round mark on the arm is from the smallpox vaccine, right?

<dumb question>
I must be missing something. How would those members then infect large numbers of Americans? Go around sneezing on them? I’m genuinely curious, if that’s how it’s spread, how is this method “a far greater threat”? I thought the crop-duster technique was the greater fear. Can you effectively spray infected saliva from a crop duster?
</dumb question>

My Mom’s got an uncle that lives in a remote part of Lookout Mountain.

Take food, guns & close relatives & ask to hide out there.

I have no site, but from what I remember of the Smallpox FAQ I read in the paper a week or so ago, they stopped giving Smallpox vaccines in 1972. However, just because you have the vaccines doesn’t make you safe - apparantly the vaccine degrades over time.

If smallpox gets out, I’m heading to the hills, despite the fact that both me and Mr. Athena are old enough to have been vaccinated.

Did you ever see that old shampoo commercial? This lady likes her shampoo soooo much that she tels two friends about it, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…

Smallpox spreads much the same way. You could begin with a small number of infected individuals but shortly have an epidemic.

However, weaponized (small particle) anthrax spread with a crop duster would be no picnic either.

And so Scarlett is proven dumb. D’oh! THat makes sense. Thanks for being kind to the temporarily clueless, choosy.

What would I do? Well, I would probably break down crying, as I am very high strung when it comes to things like this. Yes, really. Icky diseases used to be my favorite reading topic back when I was a baby Angel. As I was somewhat precocious back then, I now know more than the average person about these diseases (not that this is saying much), and am therefore scared shitless of them.

After I regained enough composure to use a telephone, I would call my SO, who lives in Michigan, and request that he come here. I would wait for him to arrive, then would take him to Wisconsin where my aunt and uncle live in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere.

This is, of course, assuming that the news doesn’t reach me during a low point in my cycle (Angel is a manic-depressive with commonly occuring rapid-cycling and mixed states, as well as schizophrenic tendencies. If that’s not TMI…). If it happened when I was in a certain state of mind, and if my meds weren’t working, or in a situation like right now, where my insurance is up and the air and I am WITHOUT meds, I might be rash enough to kill myself. ::shrugs:: I’m not proud of this fact, but I will present it as a possibility.

I’d rent The Stand…

It seems to me that even those of us who were vacinated in the past are not safe. IIRC, the smallpox vacine requires a booster shot after 20-30 years. I am looking for a cite.

As far as how I would react… I live in the USA. Smallpox suck, I would ask to have them supersized, for an additional $0.39, to jumbopox.

My grandparents live in the middle of nowhere in Central Utah. (For Utah Dopers, Tabiona Duchesne County) I’d go visit them for awhile.

I think I’d just stay in my house for a few days until I was convinced the thing was under control. The government has emergency response teams to handle and quarantine this sort of thing. Most people in DC would be vaccinated in 4 days, so the number of epople spreading the disease would be contained.

Most likely there would be other outbreaks in other cities.

Keep in mind the survival rate is 70%. More likely than not, being 33 and in good shape while I certainly would not want to contract it, but I feel very confident I could survice.

Besides, the virus is very hard to acquire, unlike anthrax. I’m not the least bit worried, and I feel comfortable that there will be enough vaccinations available before anyone tries this sort of thing.

Yes, I saw a smallpox scientist on the news he said that the vaccine we got as children is not effective now. swell.

frankly, I stay as far away as possible to any exposure. I don’t even know if I would visit a medical facility for a vaccination since the place is probably full of those with it already & its spread through the air.

It kinda looks like acne once you get the rash. so those with acne would be suspect, right?

Yo Vinnie, where you getting this information from?
I’d be happy if it were true but my reading suggests otherwise.

If a smallpox attack occurs, I think the outcome woulld be dismal. However, I am hopeful that an attack is unlikely. Smallpox has been eliminated worldwide for nearly three decades with only the USA and Russia posessing confirmed stockpiles. To use this agent, you’d need access to these stockpiles. This is in direct contrast to anthrax which can be found and cultured from many places in nature.

Please fix my code. Pleeeaaaasseee.

Well since I live in D.C., I’d probably attach myself to the nearest congressman, senator or other government official since they will probably be the first ones to get vaccinated and rushed out of the capital.

Me, I’d be worried and cynical. So maybe people who got the vacine aren’t immune to it. Maybe. those of us born after 1972 are definitely not immune to it. But, because of the way things are, young people probably wouldn’t benifit from the emergency supply as much as older people with more political clout, who are worried that they might not be immune anymore.

Good, if that’s the case and there’s an epidemic like the flu one at the beginning of the 20th century, the worst case senero is: all the young people will die (since it’s reported to be cause fatalities of 40-70% the victims), the US population will dwindle because there are few people left of child-bearing age, and 20 years from now no one will be working to support those who are elderly so they’ll starve. Don’t I have a cheery view to add to the conversation…

WHY did they keep these diseases as weapons? Smallpox has been wiped out-why keep it around?

I’m sorry, but this is scaring the bejesus out of me.

The disease if it doesn’t kill you, can leave you horribly scarred and disfigured. I’m a Vain Girl-I DON’T WANT POCK MARKS!!!
Well, and I also don’t want to die, or see anyone else die.

I am so scared!


What would I do? I think I’d do much the same thing as I did when I heard of the attacks on the Petagon and WTC - that is, cry, try not to vomit and stop sleeping for a month. In that order.