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Chronicle N°9

Smallpox, the great fear

Smallpox constitutes "one of the most serious threats" in the world in terms of bioterrorism, declared the Minister of Health Jean-François Mattei in an interview published by Le Figaro, on February 12, 2003.

Now all the newspapers are claiming in unison that smallpox is the most dangerous virus of all, but this claim is false and the CDC in Atlanta believes that "smallpox is not the highly contagious disease we once thought". Many viruses are much more devastating and more contagious than that of smallpox, such as the Ebola, Marburg viruses or even the anthrax bacillus, stored for more than thirty years at Fort Detrick, the famous P4 military research laboratory of the Maryland, where "scientists" conduct all kinds of experiments to produce fearsome pathogens.

But we cannot be certain that these deadly germs do not exist elsewhere, because we must not forget that in the 1980s, France and the United States officially sent to Iraq strains of anthrax bacilli that Iraqis have brought in bombs and missiles. At the time, Saddam Hussein was their "friend". On this subject, Le Généraliste of March 10, 1998 expressed concern: "What has become of Saddam Hussein's bombs? What has Russia done with the virulent strains against which it claims to have produced a vaccine? Do other countries have this biological weapon? Is the defensive weapon in preparation? Why not, given that on January 21, in Germany, CNN and the NTV television channel showed American troops loading planes with smallpox biological weapons and vaccines for soldiers. The military confirmed that they wanted to use the bio-grenades in Iraq “for self-defense”.

Broadcast during the night between 11 p.m. and 12 p.m., the information was not repeated the following day. It is permissible to wonder why. Thus, the United States would be ready to use bacteriological weapons, the use of which is prohibited by international conventions, whereas one of the official reasons for their intervention in Iraq is precisely to fight against these same weapons! In France, a decree which has just been published in the Official Journal defines five levels of alert providing for progressive vaccinations, starting with 150 volunteers in charge of health services, then all subjects in contact with the first declared case.

It is only if many cases occur simultaneously on French territory that vaccination of the entire population will be considered.

All the experts agree in declaring that this vaccine is the most dangerous of all, that the accidents it will cause, in particular serious encephalitis, will be very numerous and very serious, and certain epidemiologists even fear an explosion of smallpox due vaccine in some major cities.

So why take such exceptional measures for smallpox, a disease which is much less contagious than other infectious diseases and which can only be caught through direct contact with the patient? And many people living with the sick have never caught smallpox.

As for the effectiveness of the vaccine, it is highly disputed and Dr. Donald A. Henderson, head of the WHO Global Smallpox Eradication Program, had abandoned mass vaccination in favor of a so-called " surveillance-containment "because, "even in the population vaccinated at 90%, epidemic outbreaks could be witnessed".

However, it is certain that there will be strong demand in France as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Also, instead of striving to eradicate the viruses, it would be urgent to eradicate fear and it is to be hoped that the French population will remain calm in the face of the feeling of anxiety skillfully distilled by the laboratories, and does not imperatively demand a vaccine. both useless and dangerous. And let us always remember this Chinese proverb which warns:

"When you spit in the air, it may fall on your nose", it's the boomerang effect.


Sylvie SIMON



(All rights reserved ©  SPRING 2003)



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