Two people have been diagnosed with Lassa Fever in England, while another potential case is under investigation, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed. The two cases, within the same family in the East of England, have been linked to recent travel to West Africa, where the virus is endemic in the population.
One of the cases has already recovered, but the other is still being treated at a specialist secure care unit at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Fortunately, most people can fully recover from the diseases, especially if treatment is promptly received. Cases of Lassa Fever are rare in the UK and it does not spread easily between people.
According to the CDC, between 100,000 to 300,000 infections occur each year, with approximately 5,000 deaths. Humans typically become infected with the virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats (Mastomys natalensis) found in sub-Saharan Africa.