Alzira, external patient

Alzira was born in 1910 in Parada de Cima and lived in Calvão (Vagos). The first symptoms of the disease were the feeling of numbness in the feet, but she didn’t know what it was.


In November 1948, she was tracked by a Medical Brigade at the Hospital Colónia Rovisco Pais. She lived with his parents and a niece in a house with four compartments, without light, piped water and basic sanitation, within the village. Her five brothers were in Brazil. 

Those who contacted the patients were referred to with the term “communicator” and were also covered by regular examinations in order to identify manifestations of contagion. But in this case the results were negative.


At the time of the first screening by the Medical Brigade, and according to her Clinical Epidemiological Record, Alzira already had total erythema of the face, tuberculoid-like patches on the trunk in the gluteal region, thermo-tactile hypoesthesia in the lower limbs, bad perforating plantar of the right foot. After the exams, it was noticed that she was a patient with the benign and more localized form of the disease.

It started to be followed by the Hospital, with records in “Revision Forms” made either at home visits or at the external consultation at the Hospital Colónia Rovisco Pais between the years 1952 and 1968.


As of 1952, the spots entered a regression phase, maintaining the remaining symptoms. Between 1957 and 1968, in the reviews, bone resorption of some distal phalanges of the left hand was mentioned, polyneuritic gait, the perforating plantar right foot remaining, which showed signs of healing in 1966.


In these medical reviews, Alzira received instructions and medication such as sulfone dragees (Diasona), sulfamide powder, ointments and gauze.


Meanwhile, Alzira had left to be accompanied by the Hospital, due to the restructuring of assistance to Hansen’s disease in Portugal. But in 1991, the social service of Hospital Colónia Rovisco Pais, tried to update the file, registering all the patients who had died, and in that context requested information from the parish council to find out if the patient was alive. Alzira, the name she had been baptized with, was still alive, although she was bedridden, but she was known by another name, which had been registered at the conservatory.



(Based on documents from the HCRP Archive. Research and writing by Cristina Nogueira – CulturAge)