3 September 2012
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is aware of six confirmed cases, two of whom have died, of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in visitors who had visited Yosemite National Park in California. United States public health officials believe that these visitors may have been exposed to Hantavirus while staying at the Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are working with the National Park Service in responding to the situation.
Local HPA Health Protection Units are currently contacting UK travellers who may have stayed at the park using information supplied by Yosemite National Park. They are providing health advice and information on Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and about the ongoing situation in the US. Approximately 100 UK travellers have been identified as having stayed at Yosemite National Park from mid-June to the end of August.
A spokesperson for the HPA, said: “Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a rare but severe respiratory disease, which is sometimes fatal. It is spread by contact with infected rodents, primarily deer mice. Most people become infected by breathing in small viral particles from rodent urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air. The virus causing HPS in the USA cannot be passed from person to person. There is no specific treatment for Hantavirus, but early recognition and supportive care can improve the outcome of this severe disease.
“The HPA is liaising with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) in responding to the situation.”
Last reviewed: 27 March 2013