New virus case confirmed

A Morningside Medi-Clinic nurse is confirmed to have contracted the recently identified arenavirus, which led to the deaths of three people.

In a statement, clinic spokesperson Melinda Pelser said the nursing sister was receiving treatment and her condition was stable on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, health authorities announced a breakthrough in identifying the mystery virus, isolating it as a virus associated with multimammate mice — a kind of wild mouse — that excrete the virus in their urine, which can contaminate human food or house dust.

The strain of the virus is still being determined.

The list of people being monitored as a precautionary measure by the private hospital has increased to 91.

The hospital said a paramedic being monitored closely was not believed to have the virus.

The monitoring of the large group is carried out at their homes, and results are telephoned in to Morningside Medi-Clinic.

A tour operator from Zambia, the paramedic who accompanied her to South Africa for treatment and a health worker who came into contact with her have died since September 14.

Pelser said Morningside Medi-Clinic was in regular contact with the National Institute for Communicable Disease, and a team of local and international experts.

An inspection endorsed the infection control procedures in place at the hospital and said it was safe for patients, visitors and medical procedures. — Sapa

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