Lessons from the eradication of smallpox: an interview with D. A. Henderson

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Jun 24;368(1623):20130113. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0113. Print 2013 Aug 5.


It has been more than 35 years since the last naturally occurring case of smallpox. Sufficient time has passed to allow an objective overview of what were the key factors in the success of the eradication effort and what lessons smallpox can offer to other campaigns. Professor D. A. Henderson headed the international effort to eradicate smallpox. Here, we present a summary of D. A. Henderson's perspectives on the eradication of smallpox. This text is based upon the Unither Baruch Blumberg Lecture, delivered by D. A. Henderson at the University of Oxford in November 2012 and upon conversations and correspondence with Professor Henderson.

Keywords: disease eradication; guinea worm; interview; poliomyelitis; smallpox.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Interview

MeSH terms

  • Disease Eradication / history*
  • Disease Eradication / methods*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation / history*
  • Smallpox / epidemiology*
  • Smallpox / prevention & control*