The virus, named Lujo, is an arenavirus that over the course of nine days caused rash, fever, muscle pain, diarrhea, severe bleeding, vomiting, organ failure and death, said Nivesh Sewlall, who treated the first patient at Johannesburg’s Morningside MediClinic Hospital. He reported the findings at an infectious disease conference in San Francisco today.
Lujo appears more dangerous than other arenaviruses and related hemorrhagic fever syndromes, with the exception of Ebola and Marburg, which have similar fatality rates of about 80 percent. Although outbreaks of illness from these viruses have been sporadic and not widespread, the World Health Organization has said population growth into remote areas and urbanization have led to new diseases emerging more quickly in recent years.
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