STATES CHRONICLE – There have been some amazing people during the last century, who managed to make the impossible and find treatments for diseases or invent devices that will change our world. Donald Henderson was one of them. He died last week and will be forever knows as the doctor who managed to save us from smallpox.
He was assigned by the authorities and the World Health Organization to end one of the biggest threats to humanity. Henderson began an effort to identify where smallpox was making more victims and rush vaccines to the location. He also isolated everyone who came into contact with the infected patient. Donald Henderson dedicated 14 years of his life to make this disease disappear and he achieved its goal. The last case of smallpox was identified in 1977. In 1980,the authorities said that smallpox was gone and no other case was identified after that.
Henderson could not do this by himself. There were other doctors, such as William H. Foege and J Michal Lane along with volunteers who managed to kill smallpox. However, we must say that without a leader like Donald Henderson, we are not sure things would have solved so fast. He created a new technique called the “ring vaccination” and it has been used for many others diseases since then.
Smallpox was one of the most dangerous threats to humanity. It began even since people were living in caves and made victims until Donald Henderson and his team stopped it. Smallpox killed 300 million people. The virus could be spread to another person just by using the same clothing or blanket. The diseases killed most of the children who struggled with it and more than 60 percent of the adults.
Its symptoms were bad, but its effects were worse. Patients had intense pain, fever, muscle aches, and convulsions. People who were infected, but they managed to survive, could be blind or disfigured. At this moment, smallpox does not exist, but there are other diseases like rubella that can be transmitted. We hope that brave people will find a way to kill those viruses, just like Donald Henderson did at his time.
We are grateful for how he made the world a better place. He is an example for those of you who want to help people. There could be a day when your actions will make a difference. Imagine what would happen if smallpox was still a threat for us. Millions of people are alive now due to Donald Henderson.
Image source: Wikipedia