Deadly fever did kill cleaner – report
October 27 2008
By Solly Maphumulo and Louise Flanagan
The death of a Morningside Medi-Clinic cleaner has been confirmed as linked to viral haemorrhagic fever.
Maria Mokubung died after she was exposed to the virus at the medi-clinic where she worked.
Mokubung cleaned the ICU where the Cecilia van Deventer lay, the first person to die from the fever now provisionally identified as a rat-borne arena virus.
Van Deventer died in Morningside Medi-Clinic on September 14, two days after she was flown there from Zambia.
Morningside Medi-Clinic spokesperson Melinda Pelser previously denied that Mokubung had died from the virus saying her death was caused by a chronic disease which she was diagnosed with months earlier.
A Workmen’s Compensation claim report signed last week by a doctor who treated Mokubung unequivocally links her death to the virus.
The claim report was signed on Thursday by a doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital (formerly Joburg hospital) where Mokubung died on October 6.
“This patient was the cleaner at Morningside Hospital and got exposed to viral hemorrhagic fever,” states the report as the full description of the injuries.
It records the way the injury happened as “fluid transfer while cleaning”.
On Monday morning the department of health had not responded to requests for comment by the time of going to press.
When The Star asked Pelser this morning (Monday) if the hospital still maintained that Mokubung’s death was not related to the virus deaths she said: “We haven’t been informed of anything different as yet.”
Mokubung’s three children, Lebohang, 20, Kutlaono, 12, and Kamohelo, 5, are now left to fend for themselves. Their mother was the sole breadwinner. Now Lebohang who is attending Satlokane Adult Centre cannot afford to pay for her little brother’s pre-school fees.
“This is a huge burden. I have to worry about my siblings’ well being,” Lebohang said.
She said she had filled in compensation forms by her mother’s employer. “They promised to pay for their school fees but nothing has been confirmed as yet,” she said.
Five people contracted the virus, four of them dying from it.
The first person, believed to have been infected by a rat, was Zambian-based.