Smallpox is one of the world's most deadly diseases. Once its characteristic blisters appear on?
CU Ethiopia: Smallpox-ridden face of old man
GTV AND SV Members of health teams showing photo-graphs to people in market place (2 shots)
SV Brazilian doctor shows smallpox-example to children in village school (2 shots)
SV Doctor with photograph PAN TO little boy who recognises symptoms and CU doctor and boy (3 shots)
SV Doctor and colleague examining map as children watch (2 shots)
SV Doctor speaks to base on radio and switches of set (3 shots)
GV Switzerland: WHO flag PULL BACK TO LV WHO head-quarters in Geneva
CU Teleprinter printing out massage
GV INTERIOR Office as operator takes message and hands to co-ordinator who reaches for reference file (2 shots)
GV Ethiopia: Investigation team arrive at village on horseback
CU Woman with baby in arms TILT DOWN TO SHOW smallpox blisters
CU Hand filling in report
CU Geneva: Printed weekly report
SV Computer programmer and CU punch cards being sorted for data collection (2 shots)
SV AND CU Ticker-tape machine (2 shots)
SV Ma operating vaccine packing machine
STV Woman working in laboratory preparing vaccine specimens
CU packets of phials of vaccine placed in box for shipment
Cu Bifurcated needle
MCU Ethiopia: Woman being vaccinated with bifurcated needle
SV Member of health team vaccinates small boy
GV PAN Gambia: Gambian Medical Commission truck past
STV Member of team showing smallpox posters to crowd
SV Baby vaccinated with high-pressure vaccination guns
CU Baby crying
MCU Young child being vaccinated for smallpox and measles
GVS Bangladesh: Market: member of team walking through crowd showing photograph (5 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Women with smallpox standing with children (2 shots)
MCU ZOOM IN TO CU Vaccination being given with needle
DISSOLVE SEQUENCE OF CUS OF Eye region of child's face through progression of smallpox disease
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Background: Smallpox is one of the world's most deadly diseases. Once its characteristic blisters appear on the skin, smallpox kills one in four of its victims ... and leaves those who survive with a terrible legacy of pain, blindness and scarring.
But today, after centuries of suffering, it seems that smallpox may soon become a harsh memory evoked only by photographs and the scars on human bodies, instead of the even harsher reality it has been until now.
Since the discovery of smallpox vaccine almost two hundred years ago, doctors have recognised the means to eradicate the disease completely. But it was not until the middle of the century that adequate methods were found to ensure that the effectiveness of the vaccine did not suffer alarmingly in transit. By 1967, eradication had been successful in all but 30 countries of the world. Today, the disease is endemic in only three: Ethiopia, Bangladesh and India.
In 1967, the World Health Organisation -- in conjunction with governments throughout the world -- embarked upon a massive campaign to stamp out smallpox, once for all. Today the dream of a world without this dreadful disease stands on the threshold of becoming a reality.
Initially, the campaign was based upon the ideas of mass vaccination. But now the policy of surveillance and containment -- search-and-vaccinate -- plays an even greater part in the liberation of countless millions from a pain-wrecked, smallpox-ridden future. Health workers visit gathering-places like markets and schools, showing photographs of smallpox victims ... hoping that someone will volunteer the information concerning a fresh local outbreak of the disease.
When the health teams find a smallpox victim, their aim is not cure ... for there is no cure. The primary objective is to trace each and every possible contact to prevent the disease spreading in the close and crowded communities of Asia and Africa.
The campaign is co-ordinated locally by the Governments of the countries concerned and officials of the World Health Organisation. But the nerve-centre of the world-wide operation is situated in Geneva. The headquarters of the World Health Organisation receives every small detail from each daily search-and-vaccinate operation and every small detail from each daily search-and-vaccinate operation and every possible field workers as the battle continues... and is published in a weekly bulletin available to every country in the world ... for today's high-speed travelling can bring the risk of smallpox outbreaks to countries that have been free of the disease for many years. Such was the case in Yugoslavia in the summer of 1972, when 35 people died after a smallpox carrier had introduced the disease while passing through the country.
With this in mind, those countries -- like Gambia -- where smallpox has only recently been eradicated are especially vigilant in their vaccination campaigns. When local health workers show the familiar smallpox symptoms. It takes years before any country can be sure that the disease has been finally eradicated, and no-one can be completely safe until then. Smallpox vaccinations are given as a matter of course with the new protection against measles ... and at the same time.
The success of the eradication campaign has been made possible by the large numbers of volunteer doctors and health workers now operating in the endemic areas and the co-ordination of the World Health Organisation. The Organisation gave the campaign its greatest boast with the development of freeze-dried vaccine and the introduction of the simple, bifurcated needle seven years ago. Using there, one man can successfully vaccinate up to one thousand people in one day ... using less vaccine than other traditional methods.
In the very close future, the World Health Organisation hopes smallpox will become the first human disease to be stamped out totally from the world. This success will bear witness to the goals that can be achieved when unity, co-ordination and single-minded effort combine in the face of a common enemy. The killing disease that has no cure will soon itself be killed.