Lassa Fever Imported into Germany
A 68 year old man who recently travelled from Sierra Leone to Germany via Belgium has been diagnosed with Lassa fever.
The patient had a history of progressive neurological deterioration over several months in Sierra Leone. On 5th July, the patient’s neurological symptoms worsened and he developed a high fever. On 10th July, the patient travelled by air from Freetown (Sierra Leone) via Abijian (Ivory Coast) to Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels, the patient changed planes for a connecting flight to Frankfurt, where he arrived on 11th July.
On arrival in Frankfurt, the patient was taken to the university hospital in Münster where his condition worsened. The patient was intubated and treated in isolation and on 20th July additional tests for tropical infectious disease showed positive for Lassa virus.
While the risk to co-passengers on the patient’s flights is judged to be low, passengers on the following flights are being traced and contacted to inform them about the risk.
- SN Brussels Airlines flight SN 207 on 10 July from Brussels (Belgium) via Freetown (Sierra Leone) to Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) in seat rows 23 to 29
- SN Brussels Airlines flight SN 207 on 10 July from Freetown (Sierra Leone) via Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire) to Brussels (Belgium) in seat rows 23 to 29
- SN Brussels Airlines flight SN 2607 on 11 July, which departed Brussels (Belgium) to Frankfurt (Germany) at 0630, all seats
The patient has been transferred to a special treatment centre in Frankfurt. Flight crew members as well as aeroplane cleaning personnel are being contacted by public health authorities.
Since 1970, at least 16 cases of Lassa fever have been imported into Europe or North America; in none of these has onward transmission to another person been reported. The last reported imported case into Europe was in 2003 in a soldier from the United Kingdom who had been serving in Sierra Leone.
The World Health Organization has produced a Lassa fever fact sheet which can be found here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs179/en/
Information on the management of Lassa fever is available at:
Further information on this case is available at: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2006/060720.asp#e