JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — Four people, two of them Zambians, have died in Johannesburg of a mystery flu-like illness, the health department spokesman said Monday.
"The initial patient, who was from Zambia, arrived in South Africa on September 12 and she died two days later after being treated for tick-bite fever," Fidel Hadebe told AFP.
"The (Zambian) medical personnel who accompanied her also died two days later after being treated for flu," Hadebe said.
"A third person, a nursing sister at the same clinic in Johannesburg, also died, while a cleaner at the same clinic also took ill and died late Sunday," he added.
"We are still investigating the actual causes of these deaths to determine if they are related to flu or fever. We cannot at this stage say categorically what the causes are because we dealt with a combination of symptoms from these patients," he said.
"But most of the patients who died manifested flu-like symptoms," Hadebe said.
Health authorities were trying to trace anyone who had contact with the victims, in a bid to contain the disease. Anyone who had travelled to Zambia over the past month and who was suffering from flu-like symptoms was advised to seek medical attention.
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