Published Date: 2012-09-06 14:47:21
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR Hantavirus update 2012 – Americas (29): France ex USA (CA), susp.
Archive Number: 20120906.1282918
HANTAVIRUS UPDATE 2012 – AMERICAS (29): FRANCE ex USA (CALIFORNIA), SUSPECTED
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 5 Sep 2012
Source: Reuters [edited]
Health officials in France were investigating 2 suspected cases of deadly mouse-borne hantavirus in people who may have been exposed at Yosemite National Park this summer .
Some 1923 Europeans in 18 countries may be at risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome [HPS] from visits to the US national park in California between June-August 2012, according to an assessment by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday [5 Sep 2012].
“In France, the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance has reported an ongoing investigation into 2 potentially exposed cases,” the European CDC said.
The disease has so far been confirmed to have killed 2 men and sickened 4 other people, all US citizens, prompting the US authorities to issue a health alert.
But officials are concerned that more Yosemite visitors could develop the lung disease over the next month. Most of the victims identified so far were believed to have been infected while staying in one of 91 “Signature” tent-style cabins in the park’s popular Curry Village camping area.
Of the 10 000 people thought to be at risk, as many as 2500 live outside the United States, Park Service epidemiologist David Wong said. US health officials sent warnings to 39 other countries earlier this week that citizens who stayed in Yosemite should be on the lookout for symptoms of the lung disease.
Of the European visitors to Yosemite this summer, the greatest number came from France, at 502, the European assessment said. It said 342 British people also could have been exposed, along with 250 Germans, and large groups from the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium.
There is no cure for hantavirus [infections], which kills 36 percent of those who develop HPS, but early detection through blood tests greatly increases survival rates [through timely, appropriate, supportive treatment]. The disease has never been known to be transmitted between humans.
Last week [week of 27 Aug 2012], park officials shut down the “Signature” tent cabins after finding deer mice [_Peromyscus maniculatus_], which carry the disease [virus], infesting the double walls.
Early symptoms of the disease include headache, fever, muscle aches, shortness of breath, and coughing. The virus may incubate for up to 6 weeks after exposure and can lead to severe breathing difficulty and death.
[Byline: Ronnie Cohen; additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Dan Whitcomb, Cynthia Johnston, and Cynthia Osterman]
[Although there are no reported cases other than USA residents, the Yosemite National Park situation is a dramatic example of how popular tourist destinations can become focal points of potential pathogen contact, followed by widespread dispersal of tourists who are unaware of their having possibly been exposed. The follow up for all those who were in the Curry Village campgrounds is requiring an enormous effort on the part of Park personnel and health services in the countries the tourists came from and returned to. One hopes that no additional cases emerge. It will be of considerable interest to have additional information about the 2 potentially exposed cases in France when the laboratory results become available.
Although not mentioned in the article above, the hantavirus involved is doubtless Sin Nombre virus, which is endemic there. Its rodent host is the deer mouse, _Peromyscus maniculatus_. An image of _Peromyscus maniculatus_, the rodent host of Sin Nombre virus, can be accessed at http://www.ask.com/wiki/Peromyscus_maniculatus.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map showing the location of Yosemite National Park can be seen at http://healthmap.org/r/3bLD. - Mod.TY]
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Article source: http://healthmap.org/ln.php?1282918&promed&0