Lassa virus: undertaker infected with dangerous Lassa fever

Lassa virus: undertaker infected with dangerous Lassa fever

Patient with Lassa fever admitted to the university clinic
An undertaker has been infected by a body while working with the dangerous Lassa virus. The authorities from Rhineland-Palatinate report this. The man from Alzey was immediately admitted to the Frankfurt university clinic and is there in the isolation ward.

Undertaker had contact with infected body
A patient suffering from Lassa fever has been admitted to the special isolation ward of the Frankfurt University Hospital. The person concerned is the employee of a funeral home in Alzey (Rhineland-Palatinate). There he apparently got infected with the virus when he came into contact with a Lassa patient who died a few weeks ago, reports the "dpa", citing the district administration of Alzey-Worms. The man from Togo, who had worked there as a nurse, died at the Cologne University Clinic at the end of February.

In order to be able to transfer the body to Africa, she was brought to the funeral home in Alzey at the beginning of March - without knowing that the man had Lassa fever. This first turns out a few days later, after which the undertaker's employee was examined and the virus was finally detected.

First possible case of an infection acquired in Germany
After the disease was diagnosed, the man was immediately taken to the Frankfurt University Hospital and is now in quarantine. As a precaution, the patient's family members were also admitted to the hospital, the district administration of Alzey-Worms continued. "It would be the first case of a Lassa virus infection acquired in Germany," the virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told "dpa".

Lassa fever belongs to e.g. Ebola and Dengue on the so-called "hemorrhagic fever diseases".

The rodent "Mastomys natalensis" in West Africa is the natural host of the pathogen. The transmission takes place via contact or smear infection (e.g. via contaminated food) first to humans and then often from person to person e.g. about blood, saliva, vomit or coughed up blood drops. The virus can cause a fever, headache and muscle pain, and in the further course bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting are also possible. In an emergency, the infection can lead to internal bleeding and become life-threatening. In Germany, the disease is very rare if it is imported from Africa by travelers. According to the RKI, only five introduced diseases have been registered so far since 1974. (No)

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