Epidemic: ‘Eradicating Smallpox’

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“Eradicating Smallpox” is a journey to South Asia, the site of the last days of variola major smallpox. Many epidemiologists and global health leaders thought that ending smallpox was impossible. They were wrong. Dedicated public health workers made it happen.

Epidemic: Do You Know Dutta?


Who gets credit for wiping smallpox from the planet? American men have been widely recognized while the contributions of South Asian public health workers have been less celebrated. Episode 2 of the “Eradicating Smallpox” podcast tells the story of Mahendra Dutta, an Indian public health leader, whose political savvy helped usher in a transformative approach to finding and containing smallpox cases.

Epidemic: The Goddess of Smallpox


To defeat smallpox in South Asia, public health workers had to navigate the region’s layered cultural ideas about the virus. They also dreamed big. In Episode 1, host Céline Gounder wonders how the U.S. might tap into similar “moral imagination” to prepare for the next public health crisis.

Timeline: The Final Years of the Campaign to End Smallpox

KFF Health News Original

Many people working in global health thought eradicating smallpox was impossible. They were wrong. Season 2 of the Epidemic podcast, “Eradicating Smallpox,” is a journey to South Asia during the last days of variola major smallpox. Explore the timeline to learn about significant dates in the final push to end the virus.