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Epidemiological update: Hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite Park

10 Sep 2012

The risk of infection to visitors of Yosemite National Park remains low despite a new case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome who did not stay at Curry Village, where all seven previous cases had been linked to.

Since 10 June 2012, eight laboratory-confirmed cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in visitors have been reported by the Yosemite National Park service. Three of the cases died while five are either improving or recovering. Seven of the cases stayed in the ‘Signature Tent Cabins’ in the Boystown area of Curry Village. One case stayed in multiple parts of the High Sierra Camps in July. High Sierra Camp is not in the same area of the Yosemite National Park as Curry Village. According to the California Department of Public Health, the stay in the High Sierra Camps is the most likely source of that person's infection. This case exhibited mild symptoms and is recovering.

The health authorities of Yosemite National Park are continuing their public health response and outreach as a result of this outbreak.

ECDC's risk assessment

According to ECDC‘s risk assessment, the risk of infection is low as only eight cases have been confirmed so far among American visitors and none among European visitors, although several thousand people have been in the area.

ECDC suggests that any person who visited Yosemite Park in the past six weeks and presenting with either fever above 38.3°C, chills, myalgia, coughing, headaches, or gastrointestinal symptoms should seek medical advice and inform the medical staff of his/her recent travel history.
Clinicians are reminded to consider the diagnosis of HPS in all persons presenting with clinically compatible illnesses and to ask about potential rodent exposure or a recent visit to Yosemite National Park.


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