Nurse battles killer virus

The nursing sister fighting a deadly arenavirus is showing signs of responding to her treatment, although she is still in a serious condition, the Morningside Medi-Clinic said on Friday.

Meanwhile, the number of people being monitored after coming into contact with patients who had developed the viral haemorrhagic fever associated with the virus, has dropped from 94 to 31, spokesperson Melinda Pelser said.

Health authorities announced earlier this month that they had isolated the virus, associated with multimammate mice — a kind of wild mouse — that excrete the virus in their urine.

Three people are known to have died from the virus.

Paramedic Hannes Els became ill after accompanying Cecilia van Deventer from Zambia to South Africa in September when it was thought she had tick-bite fever, and clinic nurse Gladys Mthembu died before the virus could be identified.

”Antiviral treatment continues and there are indications that she is responding to this treatment,” said Pelser.

Monitoring of the remaining 31 people is done while they are at home and so far nobody has displayed symptoms of the virus. – Sapa

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