asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what hospital services exist in London for the treatment of lassa fever; and how many cases of lassa fever were treated there last year.
The isolation unit for dangerous infectious diseases for London and the South-East is at Coppett's Wood Hospital in the London borough of Haringey. Only one case of lassa fever was confirmed in England and Wales during the year 1976. The disease was contracted abroad. The patient was treated at Coppett's Wood.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what efforts have been made to trace train passengers from London to Glasgow who last week were in close proximity to the victim of lassa fever; how successful such efforts have been; and if he will make a statement of policy in dealing with such cases;(2) what efforts have been made to trace air passengers who last week were in close proximity to the victim of lassa fever in the flight from West Africa to the United Kingdom; how successful such efforts have been; and if he is satisfied with the manner in which the health and quarantine regulations for the treatment of tropical diseases were implemented in this case.
The possibility of transmission of infection to other passengers on the planes, trains, and other forms of public transport concerned is thought to be slight, but as a precautionary measure any passengers who develop a feverish illness within 21 days have been advised to consult a doctor immediately. This advice was given in a Press notice dated 22nd April 1977.Policy on dealing with cases of lassa fever is contained in the Department's Memorandum on Lassa Fever (1976).It is, of course, impossible to institute control measures unless a patient is known to be ill and a tentative diagnosis has been made. If a person entering this country is not overtly ill or does not disclose the fact that he is feeling ill to the port health authorities it is impossible to institute control measures.I understand that the condition of the patient is now much improved, but the possibility of lassa fever cannot definitely be excluded until the laboratory results are available from MRE Porton at the end of the week.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advance notice of the arrival by air from West Africa was given to the public health authorities in connection with the citizen found last week to be suffering from lassa fever; and what precautions or arrangements for treatment or quarantine were made as a consequence.
I understand that an individual has been placed in isolation in Scotland because of the possibility of lassa fever but no diagnosis has yet been made. Advance notice of arrival was not received and no arrangements were made in consequence.