Nososcomial transmission of viral haemorrhagic fever in South Africa

Guy A Richards


Recent events in West Africa have highlighted the potential for the viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) to cause considerable mortality and morbidity among heathcare workers. However, this is not a new threat as, although the risk is currently increased, it has always been present. In South Africa (SA) the only endemic haemorrhagic fever is Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, transmitted by the Hyalomma tick, which is ubiquitous in cattle farming areas. Johannesburg, the commercial and transport hub of SA, is unusual in that all cases of VHF seen there are imported, either from rural areas in SA or from countries to the north. Johannesburg functions as the gateway to and from the rest of Africa, and as a destination for more affluent residents of neighbouring countries seeking medical attention. Numerous outbreaks of nosocomial infection have occurred in SA, and these are described in the form of brief case reports. 

Author's affiliations

Guy A Richards, Division of Critical Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Departments of Critical Care and Medicine and Pulmonology, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Nosocomial transmission; Viral haemorrhagic fever; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(9):709-712. DOI:10.7196/SAMJnew.8168

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-04-08
Date published: 2015-09-14

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