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Patient who died from 'ebola-like virus' Lassa fever was a newborn baby
15 February 2022, 23:20
A patient who died from the ebola-like Lassa fever last week was a newborn baby, according to reports.
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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed on Friday that an individual with the disease had died in Bedfordshire, and that two other people were infected.
All three cases were linked to recent travel in West Africa.
The BBC said the fatality had been an infant at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, quoting an email sent to staff by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Hundreds of frontline workers at the hospital, as well as at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, were reportedly told to isolate after being identified as potential contacts.
Lassa fever is an acute viral infection endemic in parts of Africa, and the UKHSA has assured the public that the risk of further infections in the UK remains "very low".
Prior to the three recent infections, eight cases had been identified in the UK since 1980.
The cases are the first of the disease to be confirmed in the UK since 2009.
Confirming the infections last week, the UKHSA's Chief Medical Adviser Dr Susan Hopkins 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.
"UKHSA and the NHS have well established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with cases of imported infectious disease and these will be reinforced."