Johannesburg virus

By Meggan McCarthy


Three people in Johannesburg have died from viral haemorrhagic fevers in northern Johannesburg to date, while 94 people are being treated after coming into contact with the unknown virus.

 Gauteng Health MEC, Brian Hlongwa, said authorities have ensured that the mysterious virus is being brought under control. A 36-year-old Zambian patient is believed to be the source of the fever. She was treated for several infections, but died two days later. A Zambian paramedic who accompanied her into South Africa died last week, and a nurse at the Morningside Medi-Clinic, where the patient had been treated, died on Sunday. Hlongwa said that everyone who had come into contact with the patient had been quarantined in order to contain the virus.
Health authorities suspect that the mystery virus could be Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and blood samples have been sent to the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, USA for further assistance.
There is currently no vaccine, so the best chance for survival is for people to seek medical attention as early as possible. The virus can only be passed via body fluids. “You can only get infected from blood, urine or stools from an infected patient,” said spokesperson Melinda Pelser.
Symptoms of the virus include diarrhoea, muscle pain, rashes and a high fever.

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