Ali Maow Maalin was the last person in the world known to be infected with naturally occurring smallpox. At age 23, Maalin was a cook at the hospital in the town of Merca, Somalia, as well as an occasional vaccinator for a World Health Organization smallpox eradication team. In October 1977, he went out to meet two children with smallpox symptoms being brought in from an outlying village. On 26 October1977, he was diagnosed with an infection of the Variola minor strain of smallpox. Maalin had previously received the smallpox vaccine but was apparently in the small percentage of people for whom the vaccination does not take. He subsequently recovered. Smallpox (also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera) was a highly contagious viral disease unique to humans. ... Merca (also Marka or Merka or Marca) is a port city in southern Somalia on the Indian Ocean. ... Flag of World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ... October 26 is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 66 days remaining. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... The smallpox vaccine is the only effective preventive treatment for the deadly smallpox disease. ...
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