1 dies of Lassa fever in Britain after 3 cases confirmed-Xinhua

1 dies of Lassa fever in Britain after 3 cases confirmed

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-02-12 12:10:45

LONDON, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Britain has reported its first Lassa fever-related death after three cases were confirmed in the country, health officials announced Friday.

The three patients, family members from the east of Britain, were linked to recent travel to West Africa, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement.

The cases are the first of the disease to be confirmed in Britain in more than a decade. Prior to this, there had been eight imported Lassa fever cases since 1980. The last two occurred in 2009.

According to UKHSA, there was no evidence of onward transmission from any of these cases.

In a statement, the NHS (National Health Service) advised that some staff at the hospitals where the patients have been treated undergo testing and wear more personal protective equipment (PPE) than normal.

The NHS has declared a major regional incident.

"Cases of Lassa fever are rare in the UK and it does not spread easily between people," said Dr. Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at UKHSA. "The overall risk to the public is very low."

The Lassa virus, which can cause an acute viral haemorrhagic illness called Lassa fever, is usually transmitted through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats present in a number of West African countries where the disease is endemic. The virus can also spread through infected bodily fluids.