UKHSA has recorded the first fatal outcome from Lassa fever in English Bedfordshire.

The UK Security Health Agency (UKHS) has recorded the first fatality from Lassa fever, first detected in West African countries in the late 1960s.

According to the UKHS, the death was recorded in the county of Bedfordshire in the east of England. In total, three cases of fever were detected in the country. However, the agency noted that the risk to the general public remains very low.

Lassa fever is an acute infectious disease from the group of viral hemorrhagic fevers. There is currently no vaccine for it. It is most often possible to get infected through food, water or objects stained with feces, blood or saliva of rats. The virus can also be transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets or through contact with bodily fluids. The incubation period for fever is up to three weeks.

Most patients show only minor symptoms, such as fever, headache and general weakness. They may not be at all. In the early stages, Lassa fever is difficult to distinguish from, for example, malaria or Dengue fever. In severe cases, it can cause profuse bleeding and resemble the disease caused by the Ebola virus. The only way to confirm the diagnosis is a blood or body tissue test.