Skip to main content
hpa logo
Topics A-Z:
Search the site:
Home News centre National Press Releases 2009 Press Releases ›  Patient dies from Lassa Fever at a London Hospital

Patient dies from Lassa Fever at a London Hospital

18 February 2009

The Health Protection Agency can confirm that a patient has sadly died from Lassa fever at University College Hospital in London.


This is an isolated case in a person who was working in Mali and flown back on a specialist medical flight on 17th February. The patient was admitted to UCH and died on the same day. There is no risk to the general public as a result of this case.

Dr Dilys Morgan a Lassa fever expert at the Health Protection Agency said; "This is an isolated case of Lassa fever in a person who has recently returned from Mali. We would like to offer our condolences to the family of this patient at this sad time.

"Lassa fever is an infection that is found in West Africa and is seen rarely in this country in those who have travelled to parts of the world where it is common. The infection is not easily spread to others and then only by direct contact with bodily fluids. The usual incubation period for Lassa fever is 7-10 days. The symptoms include a fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle pain.

"We are working closely with University College Hospital to identify any members of staff, and other healthcare providers, who may have been involved in the care of this patient, and who came into contact with their bodily fluids. These people will be provided with information about Lassa fever and asked to get in contact with us should they develop any symptoms. Patients and visitors to the hospital are not at risk"

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. Lassa fever is an acute illness caused by Lassa virus and known to be endemic in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and the Central African Republic, and there is evidence of infection in nearby countries including Mali, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  2. The virus is shed in the urine and droppings of infected rats so most infections arise through contact with materials contaminated by these.
  3. Information on Lassa fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers can be found at www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/VHF/menu.htm
  4. For further information please contact the HPA London press office on 020 7759 2824/2834.

Last reviewed: 18 February 2009