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People Are Awesome: World's Last Smallpox Patient Fought Ceaselessly Against Polio

Mary Slosson

The world needs more people like Ali Maow Maalin, a 59-year-old Somali man who died last week. He was the very last patient in the entire world to have smallpox before it was completely eradicated -- a fact the World Health Organization confirmed in 1980.

After being careful not to spread his smallpox infection to others, he went on to be a health worker, organizing volunteers to vaccinate children in his community against polio and telling people about the importance of disease prevention.

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