Medical Q&As

Smallpox - vaccination necessary?

I am worried about the possibility of smallpox as a result of the recent talk of its possible use as a biological weapon. I am planning on travelling to the USA and wonder if the vaccination requirements for travel to America have changed in the light of this threat?

The vaccination requirements for travel to the USA have not been changed despite the fears of biological warfare that have been generated post September the 11th. Smallpox was successfully eliminated several years ago and is no longer present in any human populations on the entire globe. It does exist in some laboratories, particularly those concerned with biological weapons research. Hopefully it will be contained within those secure environments and not be released. It has been reported in the media that supplies of smallpox vaccine have been secured for this country in the event of the use of smallpox virus as a biological weapon. This is simply a contingency stockpiling exercise and there are no plans to alter travel vaccination requirements.