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On 12 September 2008, a tourist guide organising safari trips, residing in Lusaka, Zambia, was evacuated in a critical condition to Johannesburg, South Africa. She was admitted to a clinic where she died on 14 September about 10 days after the onset of symptoms. The symptoms included a prodromal phase with fever, myalgia, vomiting, diarrhoea, followed by rash, liver dysfunction and convulsions [1]. Cerebral oedema was detected on scan examination. No laboratory specimen was available for investigation. The paramedic who had cared for the index case during her evacuation to Johannesburg developed prodromal symptoms similar to the index case. He was hospitalised on 27 September. His condition deteriorated and he died on 2 October. An intensive care unit nurse who cared for the index case in Johannesburg developed similar flu-like symptoms and was hospitalised on 1 October. Her condition deteriorated on 4 October and she died on 5 October of acute respiratory distress syndrome. In both cases, the incubation period is estimated to have been about one week. On 13 October, the World Health Organization (WHO) posted a website update informing about a fourth case affecting a nurse who had been in contact with the paramedic [2]. On 12 October 2008, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa provided preliminary evidence that the causative agent of the disease was a virus from the Arenaviridae family [3]. Specimens were shipped to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for additional investigations.


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