The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) can confirm that the probable case of Lassa fever under investigation is now confirmed, bringing the total number of cases to 3. Sadly, this individual has died.
The patient died at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, run by the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
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.
This is the third case of Lassa fever was identified in the UK in the last few days. The risk to the general public remains very low.
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 UKHSA to undertake a robust contact tracing exercise.
NHS East of England has now declared a “regional major incident”.
Lassa fever, like Ebola, can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids (blood, saliva, urine or semen) of infected people
Dr 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.”