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Home News centre National Press Releases 2012 Press Releases ›  HPA statement on outbreak of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the US

HPA statement on outbreak of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the US

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.”

Notes to editors

  1. Individuals who are concerned can contact their local Health Protection Unit (HPU) for further advice: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListName/Page/1158945066055
  2. More information on Hantavirus can be found on the HPA website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Hantaviruses/BackgroundInformation/
  3. Travel advice to Yosemite National Park is available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNac): http://www.nathnac.org/travel/news/hanta_usa_280812.htm [external link]
  4. Information from CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hps/ [external link]
  5. Information from CDPH: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/hanta_8-27-12.htm [external link]
  6. The Health Protection Agency is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. In April 2013 the Health Protection Agency will become part of a new organisation called Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health. To find out more, visit our website: www.hpa.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @HPAuk . ‘Like’ us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthProtectionAgency [external link].
  7. For more information please contact the national HPA press office at Colindale on 0208 327 7901 or email colindale-pressoffice@hpa.org.uk. Out of hours the duty press officer can be contacted on 0208 200 4400.
     

 

Last reviewed: 27 March 2013