A 53-year-old South African businessman died Tuesday morning [2 Dec 2008] at Casa de saude sao Jose, in Humaita, a victim of hemorrhagic fever.

The patient was admitted to the hospital on Saturday [29 Nov 2008].

Blood specimens were sent to the laboratories of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) for analysis.

According to the hospital press service, all isolation measures to ensure the safety of patients and doctors were taken during the period in which the patient was hospitalized.

It is unknown what the virus that may have caused the fever, but the case is considered serious because the patient came from Africa.

The main [viral agent] suspected by the Ministry of Health is the arenavirus, transmitted by direct contact with secretions from infected rodents or patients.

The diagnoses of dengue, malaria and ebola were discarded.

Other hypotheses under investigation include leptospirosis, hepatitis and hantaviruses.

According to unofficial information, the coffin of the South African will be sealed.

The date when the patient arrived in Rio [from South Africa] was not given, but before Saturday the patient had already been cared for in Barra D'Or.

The Ministry of Health in Brasilia, at 7 PM this Tuesday [2 Dec 2008] issued a statement that gives more details about the case.

According to the Ministry, there are no reports of similar symptoms among health professionals who had contact with the patient.

Also, quarantine is not recommended as transmission occurs after the appearance of symptoms.

The incubation period is between 7 and 16 days.

The Ministry of Health reported the case to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as well as information on the measures adopted.

The South African Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, was also contacted, to make the arrangements for transfer of the body.)
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