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Smallpox: clinical highlights and considerations for vaccination.

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Author(s): Mahoney M | Symons A | Kimmel S

Journal: Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
ISSN 0022-3859

Volume: 49;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 141;
Date: 2003;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Smallpox virus has gained considerable attention as a potential bioterrorism agent. Recommendations for smallpox (vaccinia) vaccination presume a low risk for use of smallpox as a terrorist biological agent and vaccination is currently recommended for selected groups of individuals such as health care workers, public health authorities, and emergency/rescue workers, among others. Information about adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine is based upon studies completed during the 1950s and 1960s. The prevalence of various diseases has changed over the last four decades and new disease entities have been described during this period. The smallpox vaccination may be contra-indicated in many of these conditions. This has made pre-screening of potential vaccines necessary. It is believed that at present, the risks of vaccine-associated complications far outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination in the general population.

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