Legionnaire’s case in Jo’burg hospital

Legionnaire's disease has come to Johannesburg. And the Johannesburg Hospital, who are treating a patient, have avoided telling the public.

Kelvin Esterhuizen, a 31-year-old architect was admitted to the Johannesburg Hospital two weeks ago suffering from the mysterious new disease. When first approached, the hospital's public relations department said they knew absolutely nothing about it. But a hospital spokesman later confirmed that Esterhuizen had the disease.

In an interview this week, Esterhuizen said the hospital did not know where he had caught it. Legionnaire's disease was first discovered a few years ago in the USA when a group of Legionnaires contracted it while attending a convention.

For a long time, it remained a mystery disease, with doctors confused about its origins. However, it is now thought to be conveyed through recycled air or water.

"The hospital haven't displayed the slightest interest in trying to find out where I could have got it from," he said. Asked if he had any idea of how he caught it, Esterhuizen said: "It could be my local pub which is air-conditioned or my friend's jacuzzi – I spent a whole afternoon in it with a bottle of whisky and some friends."


Esterhuizen is not believed to be in serious danger. He expects to be discharged at the end of the week. "I haven't been near a hospital for 10 years and in the last 3 weeks I've been three times," he said.

"First, I had a motorbike smash, then I had my hand mauled by an Alsatian and now this, which is basically a very potent pneumonia," he said. He is still on a drip and suffering from headaches, coughing and chest pains, expects to be discharged at the end of the week.

But his attitude is a positive one. "I can personally recommend Legionnaires for spectacular hallucinations" he said.

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian.

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