*HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEES BEING MONITORED IN COLOGNE
More details emerge on German, US Lassa cases linked to Togo
Filed Under: Lassa; VHF
Natalie Vestin, MPH | News Reporter | CIDRAP | Mar 23, 2016
One American died in Cologne, where a German funeral home worker also became infected.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today released more details on two linked American Lassa fever patients who had worked in Togo, one of whom died, and a secondary case in a German funeral home worker who had contact with the deceased American.
The German patient is a funeral home worker who had contact with the deceased American’s body on Mar 2. He wore gloves and was not exposed to bodily fluids when he handled the remains. He was quarantined at home after the post-mortem Lassa fever diagnosis was issued, tested negative for Lassa virus on Mar 10, and then tested positive on Mar 15.
The funeral home worker is being cared for in a special isolation unit in Frankfurt, along with four family members who have been voluntarily quarantined. His infection represents Europe’s first case of locally acquired Lassa fever, the WHO said.
Outbreak investigation, contact tracing
Togo’s Ministry of Health, the WHO, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting an outbreak investigation focused on the affected health facility in Togo, along with monitoring the index case-patient’s contacts, which include 13 people in Togo, 1 in the US, and 52 healthcare workers or funeral home employees in Germany.