Smallpox disease has been eradicated from the human population since 1979, but is again a concern because of its potential use as an agent of bioterrorism or biowarfare. World Health Organization-sanctioned repositories of infectious Variola virus are known to occur in both Russia and the United States, but many believe other undeclared and unregulated sources of the virus could exist. Thus, validation of improved methods for definitive identification of smallpox virus in diagnostic specimens is urgently needed. In this paper, we describe the discovery of suspected Variola infected human tissue, fixed and preserved for decades in largely unknown solutions, and the use of routine histology, electron microscopy, and ultimately DNA extraction and fluorogenic 5′ nuclease (TaqMan®) assays for its identification and confirmation.
- DNA extraction
- Fixed tissue
- Variola virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine