Swine flu in South Africa has claimed its eighth confirmed
victim, an Eastern Cape woman, the National Institute for
Communicable Diseases said on Thursday.
The 38-year-old woman, who was in her third trimester of
pregnancy, died at Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth, the
She was also a TB patient on treatment.
Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the
woman passed away on August 14, hours after being admitted to the
First case in Gauteng confirmed
Earlier on Thursday, the institute confirmed that the virus was
the cause of death of a 21-year-old Pretoria woman, making her the
first Gauteng victim, and seventh in the country.
Spokeswoman Nombuso Shabalala said Annique Pretorius died in a
Pretoria hospital on Monday after going into respiratory distress.
Swabs taken when she was in hospital were on Wednesday confirmed
to contain the H1N1 virus. "Yes, it is the first reported case in Gauteng," Shabalala said and added that Pretorius was first admitted to hospital with
tonsillitis on August 8.
After three days she was discharged but returned to the hospital
in Pretoria West the same night with a fever that would not break.
Doctors then decided to test for the virus and Pretorius was
transferred to Kalafong Hospital.
"She was then put in the intensive care unit where she went into
severe respiratory distress and then she unfortunately, after two
days, passed away," said Shabalala.
Four had no underlying conditions
The institute said that of the eight confirmed deaths, three had
been pregnant. Four had no underlying conditions while one had
hypertension and was diabetic.
It said there had been 3 485 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine
flu throughout the country, most of which were mild.
Containment of the flu, formally known as H1N1, was not possible
given its highly infectious nature.
The focus should therefore be on identifying persons at risk for
complications, including the elderly, pregnant women and anyone
with underlying illness such diabetes, HIV and Aids and chronic
lung or chest infections.
’Situation not out of hand’
Members of the public should practice basic hygiene including
washing hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or
Eastern Cape spokesman Kupelo said the total number of cases in
the province was now 195, most of them in East London.
Eight cases had been reported in the Transkei, the first to
occur in the region.
Apart from woman who died on August 14, and one previous death,
all the reported cases had been mild.
"These deaths do not suggest a situation getting out of hand,"
he said. – (Sapa, August 2009)
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