Friday, November 7, 2008

Killer virus on the loose!

Yet another awful virus from Africa.
A new virus that causes fatal hemorrhagic fevers has been discovered in southern Africa. It killed four people in South Africa and sickened a fifth, but health authorities believe the outbreak has been contained.
Sounds pretty virulent:
The first victim was Cecilia Van Deventer, a safari tour booker in Lusaka, Zambia, who fell ill on Sept. 2 and was airlifted to Johannesburg. She apparently infected Hannes Els, the paramedic who accompanied her, and Gladys Mthembu, a nurse tending her at the Morningside Medi-Clinic in a Johannesburg suburb.

The fourth to die was Maria Mokubung, who cleaned the room where Ms. Van Deventer died on Sept. 14. According to South African news reports, the last death was originally misdiagnosed because the victim had tuberculosis and meningitis and was hemorrhaging and confused when her family sought medical care.

A fifth victim, a nurse who cared for Mr. Els, was in critical condition but responded to early treatment with the antiviral drug Ribavirin.

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