As international health officials struggled this week to decide whether to destroy the last smallpox stockpiles, Booster Shots blogger Marissa Cevallos delved into the disease's history to remind readers about the devastation it wrought.
There's also an interesting point to be made, according to the Wall Street Journal: In virologists' forgotten collections or dusty museum specimens, the deadly disease may still exist.
That possibility was highlighted when a scab from the 1876 in a Virgina museum display was snatched by personnel, clad in surgical gloves and gowns, who came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in March.
In all likelihood, the scab was of no danger to museum visitors, but it begs the question: How long can a virus survive outside of the body? Could a supposedly defunct bug rise to wreak havoc on unsuspecting human immune systems?