A mystery disease has broken out in Portugal's biggest maternity hospital.
GV EXTERIOR Alfredo Da Costa maternity hospital in Lisbon. (2 SHOTS)
LV PAN INTERIOR Maternity ward with babies in cots beside their mothers.
CU Director of Paediatric Medicine, Dr. Ramos de Almeida reading statement in English with shots of babies in incubators overlaid. (5 SHOTS)
RAMOS DE ALMEIDA: "In December 79 an epidemic of gastroenteritis emerged among the newborn of Maternity Alfredo Da Costa in Lisbon. This maternity is the biggest in Portugal and certainly one of the largest in Europe. Planned for 4,000 births per year she is now doing more than 13,000. Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 7,000 children were born in the maternity. Of these to our knowledge, more or less 400 had the disease and among these 25 died. The signs of the disease are diarrhoea, severe dehydration, metabolic acidosis and shock. Epidemics like this one have happened in many hospitals throughout Europe. It is not yet possible to isolate the agent of the epidemic: almost all stool cultures have been negative for bacteria and viruses. The ignorance of the agent raised the attention of public opinion and gave the disease an aspect of mystery because every disease is considered mysterious while not fully diagnosed. We are sure that the agent will finally be isolated. Hospital and health authorities are taking the necessary and possible measures."
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Background: A mystery disease has broken out in Portugal's biggest maternity hospital. Already 25 of about 400 babies infected have died. The disease has been sweeping through Lisbon's Alfredo Da Costa Hospital since December and all efforts to isolate its cause have failed.
SYNOPSIS: Health authorities are unable to close down the complex because other hospitals in Lisbon would break down under the resulting overload of patients.
Mothers are allowed to remain with their babies and the hospital's Director of Paediatric medicine, Dr. Jose Miguel Ramos de Almeida believes a cause will be found.