A Klerksdorp veterinary surgeon is in a critical condition in hospital after being diagnosed with Congo fever, the Afrikaans Johannesburg based Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.
Gert Coetzee, 37, was on Monday moved to the high care isolation unit of the Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital after his condition worsened after the weekend.
The newspaper report said Coetzee’s symptoms were similar to those of tickbite fever and meningitis.
A local GP apparently treated Coetzee from the start of his illness for tickbite fever because the vet had been working on a farm in the area where he was presumably bitten by an infected tick.
Coetzee’s wife, Carla, 33, said her husband had started vomiting last weekend and complained of headaches.
“He complained of being hot and said it felt like his clothes were hurting him. I believe in miracles and I believe my husband will recover. I was strong when I got the news. I think what saved me was that I didn’t realise how deadly Congo fever is,” she said.
She and their sons Cobus, 9, and Jan-Hendrik, 7, are being monitored through blood tests and fever readings.
Kathy Viebe-Randeree, chief official at the hosptial, said Coetzee had a confirmed case of Congo fever.
“There is no reason for the public to become panicky. Dr Coetzee is stable and he is doing well. There is a clear protocol that has been set for such cases and the hospital is following it 100%.”
His wife said her husband was bravely fighting back and was able to speak, “even though he looks very, very tired. Gert is still okay. That is enough for me for now”.