How Soviet Doctors Stopped a Smallpox Epidemic and Prevented Major Tragedy

In 1959, Moscow was crawling with people in hazmat suits. The truth was, the city narrowly escaped a major smallpox epidemic. It was a surprise as the disease had been eradicated from the Soviet Union for two decades. Doctors and law enforcement mounted a major operation to contain the spread. Nine thousand people were tracked down in and around Moscow. They were found in their homes and workplaces, even on trains. Hundreds were hospitalised. Such a large-scale affair was new both to Soviet medics and the police. Still, the deadly virus was defeated in just six weeks. There was no cure for smallpox, and a national tragedy was looming. How did the doctors beat the virus?



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