Staff Reporter
TWENTY-FIVE babies aged about one month are being kept in quarantine on the fourth and fifth floors of Son Dureta national health hospital in Palma, following an outbreak of a respiratory virus in the Neonatal Unit. A spokesman said that the outbreak was under control.
Tests showed that six of the babies had the virus which causes an infection in the small respiratory tracts of the lungs. The other babies gave negative tests but are being kept in quarantine in view of the risk that the virus may show up within the next few hours, as it has an incubation period of one to ten days. Juana Maria Román, head of the hospital's pediatry department, said that the outbreak was detected on Saturday night at the Neonatal Unit, which is for premature babies or babies with health problems. The unit has been closed and will be reopened tomorrow after it is thoroughly disinfected. Román said that most of the children affected by the virus have no symptoms or at most a slight temperature and runny noses. They are not in danger, but extreme precautions have been taken because they are premature or are in delicate health. Román added that as a rule such babies had poorly developed immune systems and therefore were at greater risk of complications such as pneumonia.
Román, speaking at a Press conference where she was accompanied by Carlos Ricci, the hospital's manager, said that the nursing staff spotted a baby with a runny nose shortly before midnight on Saturday and immediately tested it for the virus. Half an hour later, the test proved positive and 24 other babies were tested, five of them shown to be positive. The virus is very contagious and is propagated by contact.

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