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Medical News of the Week: Smallpox

Summary: Smallpox has officially been eradicated since 1979, but recently made national news when small amounts of live virus were found completely unprotected.
Air Date: 7/18/14
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Jeff Runge, MD
Dr. Runge is an Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Principal at The Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm in Washington.

Dr. Runge was appointed as Department of Homeland Security's first Chief Medical Officer in 2005 and became the first ever Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Health Affairs.

Prior to serving in Homeland Security, he was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2001 to 2005.

Dr. Runge is board-certified in emergency medicine, and has more than 30 years of experience in clinical medicine, research and organizational administration.
Medical News of the Week: Smallpox
Smallpox has officially been eradicated since 1979, but recently made national news when small amounts of live virus were found completely unprotected, far from the only known safe-guarded area in the U.S.

Is there a possibility that there's more of it out there?

Only two labs in the world have access to the smallpox virus: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in a medical lab located in Russia. Even though these vials of the highly contagious virus are under high security, it's important to understand what smallpox is and how to recognize it.

Smallpox is a very serious, contagious and often fatal disease marked by a rash of round blisters all over the body.

It can be spread from direct face-to-face contact or direct contact with contaminated objects such as pillows, clothes, blankets and towels. Rarely is this virus spread through the air, and it cannot be transmitted by taking the bus or exposure to other public places.

Other than the red, puss-filled blisters that cover your face and body, there are other symptoms of which to be aware. Smallpox symptoms also include fever, body aches and fatigue.

Is it possible that smallpox could become a threat again?

Dr. Jeff Runge joins Dr. Leigh to discuss what smallpox is, the dangerous symptoms associated with smallpox and why it's important to familiarize yourself with the virus.
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