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Person dies after testing positive for Lassa fever

Person dies after testing positive for Lassa fever
11.02.2022
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A British person has died after testing positive for Lassa fever.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed the death on Friday after revealing three people in Britain had become infected on Thursday.

A Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “We confirm the sad death of a patient at our trust, who had confirmed Lassa fever. We send our deepest condolences to their family at this difficult time.

“We will continue to support the patient’s family and our staff and are working closely with colleagues from the UK Health Security Agency to undertake a robust contact tracing exercise.”

The three cases are understood to be within the same family in the East of England and are linked to recent travel to West Africa.

Health experts have stressed that the overall risk to the public is low, and the UKHSA said there was no evidence of onward transmission from the three cases.

On Thursday, health officials said one of the cases had recovered, while the other was receiving specialist care at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by the Lassa virus and can be spread through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats.

The virus can also be spread through infected bodily fluids.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said: “Cases of Lassa fever are rare in the UK and it does not spread easily between people.

“The overall risk to the public is very low.

“We are contacting the individuals who have had close contact with the cases prior to confirmation of their infection, to provide appropriate assessment, support and advice.”

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