The United States is on smallpox alert after vials labeled with the virus were discovered ‘accidentally’ in a vaccine lab.

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The US is on smallpox alert after vials labeled with the virus were discovered ‘accidentally’ in a vaccine lab.

A VACCINE research facility outside of Philadelphia has been placed on lockdown after a lab worker “inadvertently discovered” a number of vials labeled “smallpox” and “vaccinia.”

A lab worker clearing out a freezer earlier this week discovered the “questionable vials” at a Merck facility.

The incident has been investigated by the FBI and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raising concerns about a smallpox outbreak at the facility.

Smallpox is a highly contagious disease caused by either Variola major or Variola minor viruses.

Since the turn of the twentieth century, the disease is thought to have killed over 300 million people.

The Merck facility has reopened after being placed on temporary lockdown.

The lab worker who discovered the vials, according to the CDC, was wearing a face mask and gloves at the time.

“There is no indication that anyone has been exposed to the small number of frozen vials,” said a CDC spokesperson.

“As more information becomes available, we will provide it.”

The contents of the vials were said to be “intact.”

The discovery is concerning because smallpox samples are only allowed to be stored in two places on the planet: Russia and Atlanta, United States.

The Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, which is located near Novosibirsk in Siberia, was destroyed by an explosion two years ago.

Many terrifying pathogens, such as Ebola, anthrax, and the Marburg virus, are housed on the site.

The explosion was caused by a gas cylinder blowing up, according to the laboratory.

“No work with biological material on the body was carried out,” the lab said in a statement.

Smallpox has been around for at least 3,000 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 1796, British physician Edward Jenner became the first to create a successful vaccine.

“In 1967, the World Health Organization launched an intensified plan to eradicate smallpox,” according to the WHO.

“For several years, widespread immunization and surveillance were carried out all over the world.

“In 1977, Somalia was the last known natural case.”

Smallpox was declared eradicated by the WHO in 1980, in one of “history’s most notable and profound public health successes.”

Smallpox is highly contagious, fatal, and has no known cure.

A vaccine, on the other hand, can effectively prevent infection.

Fever, headache, back pain, vomiting, and discomfort are common symptoms that appear 10 to 14 days after infection.

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