This is exactly WHY smallpox scares the hell out of me. When I was 22 years old, stationed in NAMRU3 (Naval Medical Research Unit) in Cairo Egypt, we were doing medical research on all SORTS of BH1,2,3 level stuff. Y2K was coming and they had freezers full of specimens and an electronic tracking system that we knew would die come Y2K.You can take smallpox off your list of things to worry about.
Smallpox is one of the two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest, which was declared eradicated in 2011.
Smallpox only exist in 2 places the CDC and their counterpart in Russia I believe.
They tasked me with coming up with a system (written in Microsoft Access) to track the over 2 million specimens in our freezers. To say that the system was sloppy (I wasn't as much of a guru in MS Access as I'd hoped) is an understatement. But it was functional, and as far as I know, they're still using the same MS Access system to this day.
All of this is monitored by the Foreign Service Nationals (Egyptians) that work at the facility. Now, to be fair, the guys that I worked with there were awesome. I honestly believe we had all of the smartest people in Egypt right on that base. But that just got me thinking about how easily someone could pocket a vial and walk out. It's no where NEAR as secure as they pretend to be in the movies.
It's specifically BECAUSE Small Pox has been completely eradicated that it scares me. After so long, there's not a human alive with a natural immunity to it, and there's only enough vaccination worldwide to protect maybe 100 million people.
Small Pox was last seen in the U.S. in 1949, when our population was less than 150 million. It was eradicated from the planet in 1978 when the U.S. population was less than 223 million. Today there's over 313 million in the U.S. The density of our population has more than doubled while our travel (long work commutes, planes, etc.) all make it VERY EASY for an airborne virus to travel VERY QUICKLY. If untreated within the first week of exposure, 52% of people will die from Small Pox. The 48% that are left to deal with the collapsing infrastructure and rotting bodies will have their own problems in the form of common diseases killing off weakened people that would otherwise have been able to fight it off. By the time enough vaccine was mass produced, then distributed, the damage would already be done.
Around this time, THIS is when the bubonic plague will rear its ugly head.
Yeah, Small Pox scares the bejeezus out of me. We should have destroyed the last samples in 1993 when we agreed to, but we're so afraid of "the other guy" having something we don't that we refuse to.