British tourists warned after deadly Ebola-like virus confirmed in Paris holiday hotspot

Parisian soldier diagnosed with Lassa fever upon returning to Paris, France from overseas – comes as Nigeria grapples with its deadliest outbreak of Lassa fever

This virus is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease that causes bleeding from the eyes, ears, and mouth.(Corbis, via Getty Images)

A patient has been diagnosed with Lassa fever in Paris, France, as Nigeria grapples with its worst outbreak in history.

A soldier who recently returned from overseas was confirmed to be infected. He is currently being treated at the Bégen military hospital in Saint-Mandé, Paris. Local health officials said a “detailed epidemiological investigation is underway to identify anyone who may have come into contact with him,” but fortunately his current condition is “a cause for concern.” It's not.

This virus is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease that causes bleeding from the eyes, ears, and mouth. It is transmitted from rodents to humans, but it can also be transmitted between humans. Although the disease is not as deadly or contagious as Ebola, it is now endemic in several West African countries, including Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

In recent years, travelers returning from Africa to Europe and the United States have been diagnosed with Lassa disease, but the disease is not widespread. Three cases have been reported in the UK in a family who returned to Bedfordshire from West Africa in 2022, with a newborn baby tragically dying from the virus.

It is currently on the World Health Organization's list of notorious pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential. Thankfully, most people make a full recovery, but some can develop severe symptoms.

Lassa fever epidemic is serious in Nigeria(Getty Images)

Lassa virus can cause headache, weakness, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and sore throat. Severe cases of the virus can cause internal bleeding, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, chest pain, and shock.

This virus is said to infect more than 200,000 people and kill thousands of people every year. Treatment usually involves antiviral drugs, which are most effective if given soon after onset of symptoms.

Lassa fever is spread through contact with the urine, feces, saliva, and blood of infected rats and is particularly prevalent in poorer areas. The virus can be transmitted from person to person in rare cases, especially when health care workers come into contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

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