Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ministry Of Health Press Release on an Unknown Infectious Disease in the Republic Of South Africa

source: Republic of Botswana (26/11/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 39 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C7) 24/11/8: Ministry Of Health Press Release on an Unknown Infectious Disease in the Republic Of South Africa

On the 7th October 2008 the Ministry of Health released a Press Release notifying the public of an infectious disease in the Republic of South Africa.

We have since been informed that the National Institute of Communicable Disease and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) have identified the Arena Virus as the causal agent for the five (5) cases which resulted in four
(4) deaths. Arena Virus is related to the Lassa fever virus in West Africa. The disease it causes is a type of viral haemorrhagic fever and it is transmitted through rodents which act as its reservoir.

Human infection is incidental, and occurs when a person comes into contact with excretions or materials contaminated with the excretions of an infected rodent, such as ingestion of contaminated food, or by direct contact of abraded or broken skin with rodent excretion. Infection can also occur by inhalation of tiny particles soiled with rodent urine or saliva (aerosol transmission).

In Botswana, no case was reported after follow up of patients who sought medical attention in Gauteng Province since the 12th September 2008.

We have been assured by the South African Department of Health that the disease is under control and investigations of all suspected contacts are free of the disease. The Ministry of Health therefore lifts the restrictions that were placed in our 7th October 2008 Press Release, for individuals seeking non-emergency medical attention in Gauteng Province.

For more information contact the Department of Public Health at 3632069/71562255 or call the Ministry of Health toll free number at 0800 600 740.

We wish to thank the Public for their patience and support during this period.

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