• One of the U.K.'s three confirmed Lassa fever cases has died
  • Reports state that the fatality was a newborn baby
  • Contact tracing and isolation efforts are reportedly underway

Authorities previously reported that one of the individuals confirmed to have Lassa fever in the U.K. has died. Reports now state that the fatality was a newborn baby.

The U.K. confirmed last week that two people had been diagnosed with Lassa fever in the East of England, while another one was being investigated as a "probable" case. The cases are all "within the same family," the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) noted, and it has been linked to a recent trip to West Africa, where the disease is considered endemic.

The probable case was eventually confirmed, bringing the number of Lassa fever cases to three. However, the confirmation also came with the news that one of them passed away.

"We confirm the sad death of a patient at our trust, who had confirmed Lassa fever," Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said in the update. "We send our deepest condolences to their family at this difficult time."

Now, BBC News has learned that the patient who died at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital was actually a newborn baby. According to the outlet, hundreds of staff have been identified as possible contacts, while sources noted that the neonatal unit at the hospital has been closed to new admissions.

Although NHS England and the UKHSA were yet to comment at the time of its report, BBC News cited an email Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust sent to its staff, which noted that those identified in the contact tracing are being required to undergo a "precautionary isolation period" of 14 days. They also shouldn't have patient contact for 21 days.

"We want to assure you all that cases of Lassa fever are rare in the U.K. and it does not spread easily between people," the email read, as per the outlet. "The overall risk to healthcare staff and other patients is very low."

Prior to the cases, the U.K. has had eight Lassa fever cases since 1980, with the last two cases being reported in 2009. Just like in the email, the UKHSA has maintained that the "risk to the general public remains very low."

During a visit to Clacton, Essex, on Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid also noted that the situation is "very much under control," BBC News noted.

The Lassa virus kills an estimated 5,000 people in West Africa every year. Creative Commons