UK Reports Death from Lassa Fever

lassa fever
Source: Freepik

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed the death of a person from Lassa Fever.

Last week, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified two Lassa fever cases in England along with a probable case that was under investigation at the time. According to the press release, the cases belonged to the same family in the East of England. Moreover, they had recently travelled to West Africa. Thus, making it the first time in over a decade that the UK has reported a case of Lassa fever.

We can confirm that 2 cases of Lassa fever have been identified in England, and a further probable case is under investigation. The cases are within the same family and are linked to recent travel to West Africa.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA

What is Lassa Fever?

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus. The virus is present in rodents and passes to humans via food or items contaminated with rat urine or faeces. It can also spread through infected bodily fluids. The disease is endemic in several West African countries. Approximately 80% of infected people remain asymptomatic while others can develop a severe infection that affects their liver and kidneys. Severe disease can present as facial swelling, low blood pressure, chest pain, fluid in the lung cavity and bleeding from the mouth, nose, vagina, or gastrointestinal tract. Death can occur within 14 days of onset in fatal cases.

In a recent statement, the UKHSA confirmed the death of the probable case from Lassa fever. This brings the total number of cases in the country to three. One of the cases has since recovered while the other is receiving care at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

The UKHSA is continuing to monitor all close contacts of the three cases. Moreover, they maintain that the risk to the public is currently very low.

Source: UK Health Security Agency


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