E Cape man dies of rare but deadly fever

A farmer and professional hunter from Adelaide in the Eastern Cape died on Thursday after been diagnosed with Crimea-Congo haemorrhagic fever, the Health Department said

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the man (39) died at the St Georges Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

“Following his diagnosis, a health investigation team was sent to Adelaide to see if anyone else was infected. No one else was diagnosed with the fever,” he said.

The man was admitted to hospital on July 12.

The viral disease is transmitted to humans by ticks or contact with blood or tissue from infected animals, and is potentially fatal.

Kupelo said the man was reportedly bitten by a tick on July 3, and went to see a doctor four days later. Three days after that, he developed a range of typical fever symptoms including nausea, vomiting and joint pains.

The fever is the most common of a range of haemorrhagic fevers that occurs in South Africa.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, anything between five and 25 cases are reported each year, most of them in the Karoo, the western Free State, the Northern Cape and North West province.

Most of the sufferers are farmers, farm labourers, hunters or abattoir workers.

Symptoms include fever, aching muscles, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, headaches, sore eyes, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, nosebleeds and other non-normal bleeding.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in three sufferers dies from the disease.
There is no safe and effective vaccine widely available for human use.—Sapa

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