- The CIA is said to be investigating an informant's accusation
that Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian
scientist who worked in a smallpox lab in Moscow during Soviet times.
- United States officials said several US scientists were
told in August that Iraq might have obtained the mysterious strain from
Nelja Maltseva, a virologist who worked for more than 30 years at the Research
Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow before her death two years ago.
- The information came to the US Government from an informant
whose identity has not been disclosed. The attempt to verify the information
- Ms Maltseva is known to have visited Iraq on several
occasions. . Some experts fear she may have provided the Iraqis with a
version that could be resistant to vaccines and could be more easily transmitted
as a biological weapon.
- The possibility that Iraq poss common-or-garden-variety
- In Britain, the Government announced plans to vaccinate
some members of the military and health service workers against smallpox
as a precaution against a terrorist attack.
- Thought it denied receiving specific information of a
smallpox attack, the British Government said on Monday that it would vaccinate
350 health specialists, as well as selected members of the armed forces
likely to be in the front line of any biological attack.
- The immunisations are expected to be carried out by the
end of next month.
- The Government also said it was starting a tender for
more smallpox vaccine as it sought to stock enough for the whole population.
- The White House is expected to announce this week that,
despite the risk of illness or death that mass vaccinations can bring,
it will authorise vaccinating those most at risk - 500,000 members of the
military who could be assigned to the Middle East for a war with Iraq,
and 500,000 civilian medical worker