The Eradication of Smallpox in Bahrain

Document Type: Original Article


Medical student, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Bahrain, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain


In the 20th century, an unprecedented level of international cooperation led to the eradication of smallpox, infamously referred to as the most terrible ministers of death. Under the guardianship of the World Health Organisation, mass vaccination campaigns and an efficient surveillance-detection system contributed to the eradication of smallpox from Bahrain, where it was once considered endemic. The last reported outbreak of smallpox in the country occurred in the villages of Demistan and Muqsha in 1956. Smallpox in Bahrain was officially declared to have been eradicated in 1978 in a report to the Global Commission For Certification of Smallpox Eradication. Recalling the epidemiology and strategies used during this pivotal moment in medical history provides a hopeful background in tackling future diseases.