The mystery virus which attacks the respiratory system in young children has now claimed seventy-two lives, and there is still no sign that a remedy has been found.
GV PAN Naples
GV slum buildings
GV's & SVs piles of rubbish (SIX SHOTS)
SV PAN children in street
GV ambulance arriving at Santobono Hospital for children (THREE SHOTS)
SV father bringing child to hospital
GV woman leaving hospital with child
CU INTERIOR baby in incubator (TWO SHOTS)
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Background: The mystery virus which attacks the respiratory system in young children has now claimed seventy-two lives, and there is still no sign that a remedy has been found. The population of the poverty-stricken city is shocked at the severity of the virus, which seems to be thriving on Naples' poor sanitation and inadequate health services.
SYNOPSIS: Naples in the south of Italy already has the worst infant-mortality rate of any city in Europe. In some parts of the city, more than one in ten children die before reaching their first birthday. In slum conditions, such as there, the virus, known as Dark Disease, has hit hardest. since the outbreak of the virus the Italian government has ordered a massive dis-infection programme in city streets, schools and nurseries. Despite that, the deaths have continued.
The exact nature of the virus is still unknown, but children from the poorer parts of the city are most vulnerable. Doctors say children of the rich and middle class families, who are stricken, receive prompt medical attention. Most of those survive. But the children of the poorer classes often end up here, at Santobono Children's Hospital.
Some doctors believe a vaccine could be developed to minimise the effect of the virus. But that would take time, and for many little children it will be too late.