Virus caused mystery Olivedale deaths

2010-09-10 13:05

A syndrome associated with the Epstein Barr virus has been identified as the cause of death of two brothers at Netcare’s Olivedale facility, according to the hospital.

“The illness that took the lives of the two young men has been positively diagnosed,” said Robert Jordaan, general manager of the hospital in the north of Johannesburg.

He quoted Professor Lucille Blumberg from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases as saying: “As many people know, the Epstein Barr virus (causing glandular fever) is a very common illness that affects 95% of people by early adulthood.

“Typically, it is a mild, self-limiting illness with no adverse outcomes. People generally recover completely.

In highly exceptional circumstances, the illness leads to a syndrome resulting in a massively disproportionate immune response to the presence of the Epstein Barr virus, resulting in organ failure.”

The syndrome affects less than 1 million individuals.

People who had had contact with the brothers were in no danger, and contact monitoring had stopped.

The Star reported that Ioannis and Giorgio Avgousti died at the weekend after a sudden onset of illness.

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