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03 Dec 2008 18:11
Brazilian authorities were on Wednesday working to identify a mystery illness that killed a 53-year-old South African man visiting Rio de Janeiro.
Rio’s state health ministry said the man, whose name was not given, succumbed to a haemorrhagic disease on Tuesday after falling ill on November 25, two days after arriving in Brazil to attend conferences.
He was taken to hospital with fever, vomiting, blood in his urine and rashes.
Doctors suspected he had contracted an arenavirus, a highly contagious group of viruses that includes Lassa fever, an infection endemic to West Africa that typically spreads to humans from proximity to rodents or from infected people’s secretions.
Dengue, malaria and ebola had all been ruled out, the ministry said.
While tests were being carried out, hospital staff who had treated him were being observed to see if they showed any symptoms.
Results from the tests should be known by the weekend, the health ministry said.
Officials said the Pan American Health Organisation and South African consulate had been informed of the case and the man’s body would be sent back to South Africa in a sealed metal casket.—AFP
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