Smallpox and Bioterrorism: History and Evaluation of Current State and Medical Knowledge
- *Corresponding Author:
- Buonsenso D
Department of Pediatrics
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
L,go A, Gemelli, 8, 00168, Rome, Italy
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: October 08, 2011; Accepted Date: November 15, 2011; Published Date: November 19, 2011
Citation: Buonsenso D, Gargiullo L, Cataldi L, Ranno O, Valentini P (2011) Smallpox and Bioterrorism: History and Evaluation of Current State and Medical Knowledge. J Clinic Res Bioeth S3:001. doi: 10.4172/2155-9627.S3-001
Copyright: © 2011 Buonsenso D, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Introduction: Although smallpox has been declared eradicated in 1980, we still have to consider it a global threat, provided the terrorist and bioterrorist attacks of September 2001 and the ongoing precarious worldwide political situation.
Materials and Methods: We performed an email-based survey, composed of 6 YES/NO questions aimed to evaluate current basic smallpox knowledge among medical students, residents and specialists.
Results: A total of 172 people from 22 different countries replied to our email. 111 were students (64.5%), 38 residents (22.1%), and 23 specialists (13.4%). More than half participants (54.6%) stated they had never had a lecture on smallpox during medical school and showed lack of knowledge about basic concepts that could be useful in the event of a bioterrorist attack (recognition of typical lesions, natural history, differential diagnosis, and treatment). Moreover, medical students showed a significant lower knowledge if compared to graduates regarding basic smallpox clinical questions (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that since its eradication, there has been a general decay of basic smallpox knowledge. These observations rise concerns on medical preparedness to respond to a bioterrorist attack.