|This 1968 image depicts a young West African Cameroonian boy in the process of receiving his vaccinations during the African Smallpox Eradication and Measles Control Programs. The public health technicians were administering the requisite vaccines using a Ped-O-Jet® jet injector applied to either of the boys upper arms.|
Smallpox outbreaks have occurred from time to time for thousands of years, but the disease is now eradicated after a successful worldwide vaccination program. The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949. The last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977. After the disease was eliminated from the world, routine vaccination against smallpox among the general public was stopped because it was no longer necessary for prevention.
Though highly-controlled through the use of widespread vaccination programs here in the United States, measles is still common in other countries. The virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in areas where vaccination is not widespread. It is estimated that in 2008 there were 164,000 measles deaths worldwidethat equals about 450 deaths every day or about 18 deaths every hour.