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Doctors dispel rumours over ‘deadly’ virus in Ermelo

Doctor Collis mentioned that several of her patients had tested positive for influenza A and B, but that she has had no deaths from respiratory viruses this year.

ERMELO – Highvelder recently published an article relating to a voice note in which the speaker warns residents of a deadly virus in town, claims that have since been refuted.

Shortly after numerous people forwarded the message to the Highvelder newspaper, the publication contacted John Whatley. He stated that the rumours about his parents falling very ill were false and that they were attempting to reach the person who made the initial voice note.

He said it caused quite a stir at their business, as numerous people called them to inquire about their health and to find out if it was safe for them to visit their business premises.

Whatleys respond to rumours

“The rumours caused us to lose business because people were afraid they would get sick and end up in the hospital,” John said.

He encouraged people to remember that it is flu season, and not everyone who is sick with a cold or the flu has a deadly virus.

“We want to ensure all our clients that they can feel free to visit the business, as the rumours were spread after the man made his own conclusions,” John said.

The contentious voice note

The publication, although having spoken with the Whatleys who deny having been sick due to a virus, has now also reached out to several general practitioners in town to get more clarity on the rumour and its veracity.

Doctor Natalie Collis

Doctor Natalie Collis said that there have been many cases of influenza and swine flu, which is a variant of influenza A.

She mentioned that several of her patients had tested positive for influenza A and B, but that she has had no deaths from respiratory viruses this year.

She also noted she has not heard of anyone dying from influenza, but suggested contacting other doctors as well.

Doctor Natalie Collis.

“I’ve not had a massive number of influenza patients, but I have had some patients test positive. Only one or two have needed admission, but nothing deadly, so I do not know what the person is referring to.”

Doctor Samuel van Zyl

Highvelder also spoke with doctor Samuel van Zyl, who said, “The important thing about viruses that people should know is that it can give you a runny nose, kill you, or anything and everything in between.”

He therefore emphasized the importance of visiting your local GP to determine whether extra treatment is required.

“Extra treatment is usually done for people with very high viral loads, a high infection count, or a secondary bacterial infection.”

According to him, the viruses they usually encounter are typically influenza viruses, ranging from ‘plaaskiem’ to Covid.

All of them, he said, might cause some people to show absolutely no symptoms, while others might experience more severe implications and or complications.

“People should know that influenza can be serious, and you should take it seriously if it is making you very ill and seek the necessary treatment promptly if it is not just a runny nose that you’ve developed.”

He added that there are not deadlier viruses than others.

“Before Covid, there were also viruses that killed people, so it is important to note that people who are sick can get seriously ill and that you could also contract something to a less severe degree from the same bug.”

He therefore advised people to assess their own symptoms independently and not compare them to others’.

Doctor Jana van Heerden

Doctor Jana van Heerden. Photo | Supplied

Doctor Van Heerden said that she, too, was unaware of a deadly virus.

“So far, I have seen many flu patients, including swine flu (Influenza A). There are certainly other viral infections in the area that are not swine flu, but they all have similar symptoms, namely fever, body aches, respiratory symptoms, headaches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhea.”

She indicated that patients can rest assured that, just as with Covid, doctors treat viral infections in the same way: symptomatically and with rest.

“For swine flu, we can give Tamiflu, but according to clinical studies, it must be taken within the first 72 hours of symptom onset to make a clinical difference and shorten the duration of the illness. This is different for the elderly and young children. We always prefer to give it to them.”

She said some viral infections can be dangerous to the aforementioned groups, including those with comorbidities.

“Seek medical help early and get the necessary treatment and rest to recover.”

She concluded by saying that everyone could help to try and prevent or lessen the spread of viruses, notably the current swine flu, by following general measures like we did during Covid: wearing a mask if you are sick, sanitising, and washing your hands.

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