Press statement by CapaCare International
Trondheim Norway, 24 November 2019
It is with great sorrow to announce that one of our colleagues passed away last night in Leiden
University Medical Centre. He contracted Lassa fever during his clinical work at the Masanga
hospital in Sierra Leone.
We are very grateful for having had him in our team to strengthen the healthcare system in Sierra
Leone. We admired his knowledge, capacity and passion to improve access to surgical care in
the country. The way he was able to provide his patients the best possible treatment and his
students thoughtful guidance never stopped to impress us.
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness. Humans become infected through contact with the excreta of
infected rats or by close person-to-person contacts (through bodily fluids). Lassa fever is endemic
in the rodent population in parts of West Africa. Infections of Lassa occur annually in West Africa
and causing by estimation 100,000 to 300,000 infections per year.
Also, one other Global Health and Tropical Medicine doctor and a local nurse has tested positive
for Lassa fever. The doctor is repatriated to the Netherlands while the nurse is isolated in a
specialized Lassa fever treatment centre in Sierra Leone. International healthcare workers that
had contact with the Lassa patients are repatriated.
The healthcare in this hospital has been taken care of by other doctors to ensure best possible
treatment. CapaCare has until further notice stopped all training and research activities.
CapaCare and its Dutch affiliation (CapaCare Netherlands), are closely monitoring the situation
on the ground in Sierra Leone, in good collaboration with the local authorities and partner
organisations, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone and the Dutch National
Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
Our hearts are with the family of the deceased, our affected employees and all involved. We give
them our greatest sympathy. Please respect their privacy.
Chairman of CapaCare
Dr. Håkon A Bolkan
For any additional information on Lassa Fever we kindly refer to the Dutch RIVM.
References / for more information about Lassa Fever: