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Dutch doctor dies of lassa fever contracted in Sierra Leone

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government says that a doctor who contracted lassa fever while working in Sierra Leone has died. Health Minister Bruno Bruins said in a letter to Parliament Sunday that the doctor died Saturday. He was being treated for the hemorrhagic fever in an isolation ward at a university hospital in Leiden.

Bruins said a second Dutch doctor who was working in Sierra Leone also has contracted lassa fever and been flown home and taken to a special hospital in the central city of Utrecht. The lassa cases are the first in the Netherlands since 2000.

There is no vaccine for the disease, which is transmitted through the bodily fluids of sick people. Humans also can contract the disease by coming into contact with food contaminated by rat excrement.

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