Skip to main content

Advertisement

Preface: On the Eradication of Smallpox and the Beginning of a Public Health Career

Article metrics

  • 442 Accesses

  • 3 Citations

Abstract

When I was a medical student, there were few lectures on public health at our university and such was true at most. The focus was on the treatment of individual patients with limited regard for the problems of the community. But as time has passed, there has been increasing concern about the population as a whole and approaches that might be appropriate for prevention of both acute and chronic diseases, for containing the spread of infection and for fostering healthy lifestyles. Many disciplines are involved but epidemiology, being the primary discipline of public health, lends itself well to serving as a common platform in joining all the disciplinary fields. Such was the case with the smallpox eradication program. The lessons learned from this experience are very relevant to current and future issues in public health.

This is undoubtedly the most exciting time in history to enter the field of public health—so much is changing and so many new opportunities are presenting as the importance of population-based public health is increasingly perceived by governments, universities, and the community as a whole. The experience of working on the eradication of smallpox was a major development in my career as it was for many colleagues who served with me. I am pleased to be able to share this experience with a new generation, which faces both enormous challenges and opportunities in disease control and health promotion.

References

  1. 1.

    Basu RN, Jezek Z, Ward NA. The Eradication of Smallpox from India. New Delhi: World Health Organization; 1979.

  2. 2.

    Fenner T, Henderson DA, Arita I, Jezek Z, Ladnyi ID. Smallpox and Its Eradication. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1988.

  3. 3.

    Glynn I, Glynn J. The Life and Death of Smallpox. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2004.

  4. 4.

    Henderson DA. Smallpox: The Death of a Disease. New York: Prometheus Books; 2009.

  5. 5.

    Ogden HG. CDC and the Smallpox Crusade. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office; 1987.

  6. 6.

    Tucker J. Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press; 2001.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Donald A. Henderson MD, MPH.

Additional information

Recommended Citation: Henderson DA. On the Eradication of Smallpox and the Beginning of a Public Health Career. Public Health Reviews. 2011;33:19–29.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Henderson, D.A. Preface: On the Eradication of Smallpox and the Beginning of a Public Health Career. Public Health Rev 33, 19–29 (2011) doi:10.1007/BF03391618

Download citation

Key Words

  • Smallpox
  • vaccinia
  • vaccination
  • surveillance
  • measles