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The Lassa virus, close to Ebola, kills one in England: should we be worried about a spread in Europe?


Three Britons have contracted this viral haemorrhagic fever which leads to bleeding eyes, facial swelling and vomiting…

One of the world’s four most dangerous viruses has killed one person in the UK, the UK government announced on February 11.

the Lassa viruswhich is a hemorrhagic fever and which prevails mainly in West Africa was diagnosed on three british. And one died in Bedfordshire Hospital, another has recovered.

This virus has the same characteristics as the other three deadliest Ebola, Marburg and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

Lassa fever is contracted by approximately 100,000 to 300,000 people worldwide and approximately 5,000 people die from it each year, as reported by Science and Life.

How do you get this virus?

As specified by the UK Health Safety Agency, Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease caused by the Lassa virus.

People are usually infected with Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with the urine or feces of infected rats – present in a number of West African countries where the disease is endemic.

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The virus can also be spread through infected bodily fluids.

Most people with Lassa fever make a full recovery, but it can be fatal in some cases.

Symptoms and treatments

The problem with this fever is that most of the time people are asymptomatic.

The disease begins 6 to 21 days after infection with non-specific clinical signs: fever, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue.

But the virus can lead to lightning hemorrhagic fever with the appearance of swelling, bleeding, heart, lung and brain problems.

When the patient dies of it, it is after his organs have cowardly and after seizures.

For pregnant women, this fever is extremely serious, very often leads to the death of the mother and the fetus, as reported by the Pasteur Institute.

At the moment there is no no vaccineas reported by Futura.

But an antiviral drug, the ribavirinhas an effect on Lassa fever and would reduce the risk of mortality.

Patients from the same family

The British Health Security Agency explained that the investigation carried out reports three people who were infected with hemorrhagic fever and one of them died.

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The infected people belong to the same family who live in the east of England and would have contracted the virus while traveling recently in West Africa.

Reassuring speech from the authorities

It should be noted that the current 3 cases are not the first in the UK, there have been eight cases of Lassa fever imported into the UK since 1980. The last two cases occurred in 2009.

And none have been transmitted to the UK, each time it is only imported cases.

Also, fever, given its transmissibility, does not spread easily between people in a country like the UK. “The overall risk to the public is very low.” point out the British authorities.

People who have been in contact with his three patients are being closely monitored to determine whether or not they could potentially be infected.

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