View Full Version : Small Pox (Probability, but not poker)

09-24-2002, 01:45 PM
The threat of the terroristic use of smallpox is in the news these days. I have often heard that the probability that a terrorist could create 10 small pox cases in the U.S. is very difficult to estimate and it is hard to justify vaccinating the U.S. population without a good estimate. So there are a few probability questions that come to mind:

1) What is your best guess of the probability that a terrorist will cause 10 people in the US to get a smallpox virus in the next 30 years?

2) How large does that probability need to be to justify vaccinating the US population.

Assume that 10 people die per million vaccines. Assume that if a terrorist succeeds in infecting 10 people and we do not vaccinate, then 100,000 people in the US are likely to die of small pox before smallpox is eradicated (again).

09-24-2002, 02:53 PM
Im sure that when the next wave of suicide attacks (self-infection, followed by a day of sneezing at Grand Central Station) are finally worked out as a clever way to do such things, that this will eventually happen with some contagious disease.
The big question would be which disease, and how quickly it could be contained, compared to cost.
It's almost an ethical question, even though it's obvious that no ammount of money is worth one life, unfortunately even governenments only have x ammount of money, and you cannot vaccinate against everything that life can throw at you.
I believe that the chances of a major terrorist caused outbreak causing 1000 or more deaths, in the most hated nation in the world in the next 30 years is about 98%, but knowing which outbreak to defend against is very difficult.

As to question two, governments use the 100% rule (ie: it has already happened) before doing anything

I hope i haven't just caused a terrorist attack with the self-infection idea, Ive never heard it discussed, and it would definately get through customs :O

09-24-2002, 03:42 PM
yes well in todays world of genetic engineering, what is the probability that the smallpox vaccinations will be effective?

remember the mousepox article where the researcher changed a single gene (mousepox was like 10% lethal) and it became like 100% lethal in 24 hours?

given that, what is the probability that this whole vaccination thing is part of some other agenda? ( we dont have to go crazy here and talk about the cancer causing viruses found in vaccines and stuff like that, free market principles suffice when were talking about half a billion doses.)


09-29-2002, 02:39 AM
also soviet union developed over 100 strains of smallpox for which the original smallpox vaccine would be completely ineffective.

its just seems to me any terrorist group or state which would want to use smallpox would want to use a form for which no vaccine is available.

also note that foreign states or terrorists would not be able to innoculate themselves against the 'original' smallpox virus since there is not an available vaccine supply anyway.

so since they cannot innoculate themselves anyway, they may as well use a 'super' strain. (also they could develope a vaccine for themselves against the super strain, or perhaps buy the whole kit (virus + vaccine) off the shelf so to speak from the russians. )


10-04-2002, 05:20 PM
There has been a lot of talk about terrorists using smallpox. The real question is whether the terrorists are willing to make martyrs out of millions of people in the third world, including the people they claim to represent, in order to kill a few thousand people in the US (Possibly many more if they use a vaccine resistant strain). If terrorists release ordinary wild type smallpox in the US tomorrow, Several hundred to several thousand people will die in the initial outbreak. However, in a few weeks to a few months, nearly all of the US population will be vaccinated and immune. Also, many people over 40 may have some immunity because they were vaccinated in childhood. However, smallpox is a highly infectious disease. By the time the US population is vaccinated, the epedemic will almost certainly have spread world wide. In Western Europe, Japan and any other places with a good medical infrastucture, it should be contained fairly quickly, but in Latin America, India, Africa, South Asia, etc. it is likely to take many years to get smallpox under control. We know the terrorists are irrational. The fact that suicide bombings and plane hijackings have been their tactics of choice proves this. But are they crazy enough to think unleashing smallpox on the world again is worth it if they can kill some Americans? I wish I knew the answer.

10-05-2002, 02:11 AM
food for thought.

madeline albright says 1/2 million dead iraqi children acceptable price to pay for stability in region.

prince phillip of britian writes in his autobiography he wants to come back as a virus to kill 80% of worlds population.

WHO or some other UN organization caught sterilizing women in 3rd world countries (by offering 'free' tetanus shots laced with sterilizing hormone.) (by the way , only offered to women, manufactured at different plants, and the hormone was expensive so it was deliberate)

bottom line: people with power are a bunch of madmen. look up the northwoods documents. i wouldnt put much of anything past them. (james bamford, body of secrets, respected author journalist)


p.s. i may be one of the most resistant to smallpox cause i was one of the last (routinely) vaccinated - but i wouldnt want to bet on it, heh