Zoom in on microorganisms

Species that are extinct or are on the verge of extinction

Ever since humans have been able to identify pathogenic microorganisms that cause disease, they have found creative means to fight against and destroy these species. Thus, today, some of these diseases have virtually disappeared from the face of the earth.

Smallpox virusZoomZoom
© Robert Alain, SME, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier

Smallpox virus

Microorganism: Smallpox virus (orthopoxvirus)

Disease: Smallpox

Date of eradication: Declared eradicated in 1978 (virus conserved in certain laboratories)

Estimated date of destruction of the last samples: 19992002

Poliomyelitis virusZoomZoom
© Robert Alain, SME, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier

Poliomyelitis virus

Microorganism: Poliomyelitis virus (genus Poliovirus)

Disease: Poliomyelitis

Estimated date of eradication: 2004 - unknown

Leprosy bacteriumZoomZoom (82KB)
© Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Leprosy bacterium

Microorganism: Hansen’s bacillus

Disease: Leprosy

Estimated date of eradication: 2010 (Could possibly be later as we have still not succeeded in cultivating the pathogenic agent, an essential step towards developing a vaccine.)

Tuberculosis bacteriumZoomZoom (84KB)
© Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Tuberculosis bacterium

Microorganism: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, (Koch’s bacillus)

Disease: Tuberculosis

Date of control: 1974

Estimated date of eradication: 2050