Nearly 70 doctors were testing positive for a stomach virus, connected to a Christmas party, over the holidays at a Spanish hospital, according to a BBC report.
The doctors, who were part of a 60-strong emergency department at La Paz hospital in Madrid, tested positive for the virus after attending a Christmas party in La Paz — the city’s new all-inclusive hotel district, which opened in 2018.
The new hotel complex, popular with affluent Madrid residents, features boutique shops, cinemas, cafes and bars — all in one location, much like Barcelona’s many bars and all-inclusive hotels.
The group of 70 doctors were carrying out an MRI test when they discovered they were suffering flu-like symptoms, followed by a mystery illness. The doctors attended the holiday party in a room built into the hillside that overlooks La Paz, which is marketed as a “haven from the blights of the outside world.”
The doctors initially suspected their symptoms were caused by tuberculosis, but tests revealed they had viral gastroenteritis, from a virus that was responsible for multiple deadly diseases in the past.
“We still don’t know what we have here but it’s very concerning because we’ve dealt with this before,” said Dr. Juan Sosa, head of the case and public health department at the Hospital de Vall d’Hebron in Madrid. “We have had so many cases of the same virus, we’ve even heard reports that the symptoms begin the day after a drinking party.”
The doctors successfully recovered and were discharged from the hospital over the weekend, having attended the same Christmas party at the same hotel.
Medical experts said it was unusual to see the virus associated with such a big group of patients.
“The viruses that caused so many illness in the last millenniums were confined to epidemics. They cannot be transmitted in this way,” said Dr. Elena Casalejo, health protection consultant at EUROSUR, the European Public Health Network.
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