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The first registered case of infection of Lassa fever outside Africa

Until now all cases of infection with hemorrhagic Lassa fever occurred in the homeland of this dangerous disease on the African continent. But German doctors report the funeral home worker who contracted Lassa fever from a corpse…

As in the case of the Ebola virus, the causative agent of the other deadly varieties of hemorrhagic fever, the birthplace of the Lassa virus is Africa (Africa).

Although Lassa fever is considered to be less dangerous disease than its «cousin» of Ebola, however, and in this disease the mortality rate can reach 15%.

Lassa virus was discovered in 1969 and since then there have been no reported cases of infection this virus on other continents. This is due primarily to the fact that usually the infection of this virus occurs in case of accidental human contact with surfaces contaminated with droppings and urine of rats «multimammate rat» (Mastomys natelensis), which are found only in Africa and are the reservoir of infection.

However, employees of a clinic in the German city of Alzey (Alzey), located in Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), reported first in the history of medicine the case of infection with Lassa virus outside of the African continent.

Patients were the undertakers, who had to prepare for burial the body of a U.S. citizen who died in Germany.

When pathologists finally established the exact cause of his death, which occurred in Koeln (Cologne), if the employee the funeral office has already developed symptoms of Lassa fever, and he was hospitalized in serious condition.

And the dead American was a doctor in the African country of Togo (Togo), where, in all probability, became infected with the Lassa virus. Because the incubation period of Lassa fever may continue for 21 days, the patient initially felt fine and even managed to fly to visit friends in Germany.

The last time German doctors faced with Lassa fever 10 years ago – but in that case the patient arrived in Germany from Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone), where he infected.