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Germany monitors 103 in Lassa-Fever case

Published Apr 6, 2000

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Wiesbaden, Germany - Medical authorities are monitoring a total of 103 people after the death of a second patient in Germany from the mysterious and deadly Lassa Fever virus, it was announced on Thursday.

Thomas Weber, a doctor at the Wiesbaden clinic that treated the Nigerian, who died on Saturday, said that all those being monitored had had contact with the man.

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A blood test taken from the nurse who treated the Nigerian man proved negative and she would be allowed to go home on Thursday, the doctor said.

Another 16 blood tests taken from staff at the hospital also proved negative, but the clinic would send blood tests to the Hamburg Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine as well.

The death of the Nigerian came just two months after a young fine-arts student died of the virus.

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The 57-year-old Nigerian had been flown especially to Germany on March 27 for diagnosis and treatment.

The disease is uncommon even in Africa, where it is spread in the urine of rodents or through saliva, vomit or droplets of coughed-up blood from an infected person.

It causes haemorrhaging. The estimated fatality rate ranges from 5 to 40 percent. First discovered in 1969 in Nigeria, the agent is one of the so-called arenaviruses.

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The man who died in Wiesbaden was not identified by officials, but was described as a Nigerian resident who was brought to Germany on account of his illness. He was not initially diagnosed with Lassa Fever because he had neither a fever nor vomiting and had died suddenly.

The 23-year-old German woman who died in Germany in January of Lassa Fever caught it during a trip to West Africa. - Sapa-DPA

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