Smallpox is an acute contagious disease caused by Variola virus, a member of the orthopoxvirus family. It was one of the world's most feared diseases until it was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination programme led by WHO. The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977. Since then, the only known cases were caused by a laboratory accident in 1978 in Birmingham, England, which killed one person and caused a limited outbreak. Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1979.