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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about...vaccinations.


CURWOOD: Two hundred years ago an English physician, Edward Jenner, administered the first vaccination against smallpox to an 8-year-old boy. It was the first step in the eventual eradication of the disease around the world. The last known case was reported in 1977. Smallpox still remains in 2 places: the laboratories of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and its Russian counterpart in Moscow. The microbes are scheduled for destruction in 1999, though there's a debate among scientists about the wisdom of doing this. Some say we should keep the virus for research. Others fear accidental releases if the samples are not destroyed. The World Health Organization hopes 2 other viruses will be eradicated next. Polio has already been vanquished from the Western Hemisphere, and the WHO hopes to eradicate it worldwide by the year 2000. The organization also expects measles to be gone by the year 2010. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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