In early March, Swedish media reported on a Lassa fever case in woman who recently returned from West Africa.
Earlier this week, an expert from the Dept of communicable disease control and prevention, Region Västra Götaland and member of the investigation team wrote into the website, ProMed Mail providing additional details on the case.
The patient is a 72-year-old woman, who’d been traveling for six weeks in areas of Liberia, returned back to Sweden and was diagnosed on Apr. 1. She claims to had been staying in rooms with traces of mouse excreta.
She did not have any symptoms before or during the travel back to Sweden on Mar. 2.
A week after her return home, she experienced onset of symptoms such as high fever, chills, joint pain, headache, diarrhea, and occasional vomiting. Soon after, as more serious appeared, she was admitted to the hospital.
The medical examination showed signs of encephalitis and the suspicion/probability of Lassa virus infection was raised on Mar. 29. Serology and PCR-tests were performed at the Public Health Agency of Sweden on Mar. 31. Serum samples were PCR-positive as well as positive for IgG and IgM against Lassa virus. Sequencing was consequently performed and confirmed the diagnosis on Apr. 1. The sequence was in agreement with prior reported sequences from Liberia.
At this point, she was transferred to Linköping University hospital in eastern Sweden for isolation. The Linköping University Hospital is Sweden’s only health-care center with high-level isolation facilities.
Contact tracing revealed 75 people with low-level exposure, so far no suspected secondary case have been identified.
In 2011, woman was infected with Lassa fever in West Africa where she has been working for a humanitarian aid organization.