Revisiting the 1970 smallpox outbreak in Meschede, Germany: Lessons for a post-COVID world
Keywords:biological hazards, hazard, smallpox, public health, history, emergency management, COVID-19, coronavirus
When people think about hazards, the types that easily come to their mind include natural hazards, such as earthquakes, tornados, and tsunamis, and manmade ones, such as plane crashes, bomb explosions, and exposure to toxic industrial chemicals. Disease outbreaks are a source of hazards that are often overlooked, and the largely forgotten smallpox was an example of such disease. This article provides a review of the emergency management practices that curtailed the potentially devastating spread of smallpox at Meschede, Germany in 1970. Lessons that can be transferred to the COVID-19 pandemic are also discussed.
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