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Senior U.S. officials and foreign scientists
report that the CIA is looking into a claim that Iraq may have been given a
particularly potent strain of smallpox from a Russian virologist who worked in
Moscow's Research Institute for Viral Preparations for over three decades.
Nelja N. Maltseva died two years ago, but she was known to have visited Iraq on
several occasions, although that fact is denied by her former laboratory deputy,
Svetlana Sergeyevna Marennikova. Dr. Donald A. Henderson, a senior adviser to
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a leader of the smallpox
eradication campaign, said Maltseva was "hard-working" and traveled extensively
on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the eradication
campaign. WHO records indicate she traveled to Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan
as part of her duties with the program. The institute where Maltseva worked
housed a national collection of 120 strains of smallpox, and scientists and
American officials speculate that Iraq attempted to purchase the Aralsk strain,
which may be resistant to vaccines. The possibility that Iraq was successful in
obtaining this strain is one of the factors that has complicated President
Bush's decision about how many Americans should be vaccinated against smallpox.
Along with that, Russian officials have continually refused to share smallpox
and other lethal germ strains for study by U.S. scientists or to respond to
inquiries about the whereabouts of those strains.
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YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
"A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth."
-- Albert Einstein, letter to a friend, 1901
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William C. Jarvis, September 28, 1820
“A sacred cow will not protect the herd.”
-- Sandy Gottstein
"What's the point of vaccination if it doesn't protect you from the unvaccinated?"
-- Sandy Gottstein
"Who gets to decide what the greater good is and how many will be sacrificed to it?"