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1974 India. Child with smallpox

Photo credit: n/a
Source: AP Wirephoto 23 Jun 1974


Hakegora, Bihar State. Explosive epidemics began in India in May 1974, with some 50,000 cases detected in that month alone. Bihar was the state most severely affected, reporting more than 8,000 cases each week.

At the same time, the movement of smallpox field teams was restricted by petrol shortages and strikes that immobilized rail and air transport. Bihar State experienced severe flooding in the north, severe drought in the south, and civil disorder. In addition, a major epidemic in an urban industrial centre spread smallpox to hundreds of distant villages in India and Nepal.