A mysterious disease with symptoms of flu, bleeding and vomiting suspected to have originated from Zambia has claimed four lives in South Africa.
The Zambian government has, however, assured the nation that there has not been any reported case of the killer disease anywhere in the country and called for calm.
Media reports today say Health Minister Brian Chituwo said the ministry was in total control and all travel should continue normally.
The first person to suffer from the unknown disease was a female South African who was resident in Zambia and fell ill on September 4.
She was evacuated to Morningside Clinic in South Africa where she later died on September 13, this year.
“The second victim was a paramedic who escorted the patient to South Africa. The third victim was a nurse based at Morningside that attended to the first patient,” Dr Chituwo said.
The third victim was a nurse based at the clinic who had attended to the first patient.
Reports indicate that the driver of the ambulance that ferried the patient from Lanseria Airport to Morningside was also in a critical condition.
He said all the patients developed fever, cough and bled from various parts of their bodies.
Dr Chituwo said laboratory investigations so far done did not point to any particular known disease.
Dr Chituwo said the mysterious disease had so far claimed three lives in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Zambian authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said they had mounted investigations into the disease.
Zambia’s High Commissioner in Pretoria, Leslie Mbula, said reports from Zambia indicated that no other person in that country had contracted the “mysterious disease”.