Lassa Fever scare at Zaventem Airport
24 July 2006, BRUSSELS — Initial tests on a Zaventem Airport worker who came into contact with a patient suffering from Lassa Fever have proved negative.
24 July 2006
BRUSSELS — Initial tests on a Zaventem Airport worker who came into contact with a patient suffering from Lassa Fever have proved negative.
A Sierra Leone patient landed at Brussels international airport on 11 July on a SN Brussels Airlines flight.
The patient is now being treated in a German hospital and German authorities confirmed to Belgian colleagues on Friday night that the patient was in fact suffering from Lassa Fever.
The Belgian Health Ministry immediately implemented preventative measures to ward off a threatened spread of the disease.
An employee at Zaventem Airport came into direct contact with the transiting Sierra Leone patient and was therefore taken to a Brussels hospital for observation and tests after developing symptoms of the disease.
But the ministry said on Sunday night that initial laboratory tests on the airport employee were negative. The tests were carried out in a Hamburg laboratory.
Further tests will be carried out in coming days to rule out an infection. The patient's condition is said to be pleasing and it is expected that he will soon be released from the Brussels hospital.
Despite the fact that every Belgian passenger on the two flights used by the Sierra Leone patient will be contacted by the Health Ministry, they have been urged to seek medical attention at the Antwerp University Hospital or the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin.
Lassa Fever is a viral infection that can be passed from person to person via blood, urine, saliva or breathing excretions. The illness is only infectious after the respiratory symptoms manifest, which was not the case with the Sierra Leone patient.
The Health Ministry said there is an effective treatment for the illness making the risk of death minimal.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news