Saturday, September 1, 2012

Yosemite hantavirus outbreak: virus kills quickly and cannot be treated, says epidemiologist



The outbreak of the rare hantavirus pulmonary syndrome at Yosemite National Park in the US could kill 4 of every 10 people infected, as Dr Pierre Rollin from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention explains.

Around 10,000 visitors to California's Yosemite National Park could have been exposed to the deadly and untreatable virus, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So far, six cases of the rare hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) have been confirmed – two of whom have died – while a "multiple" number of other suspected cases of the rodent-borne disease are being investigated.

The National Park Service has written to some 2,900 people who booked stays in the Boystown area tent lodgings between June 10 and August 24, alerting them to keep an eye out for symptoms of HPS.

However the CDC estimate the number of people who actually stayed in the tent cabins – those who booked plus their guests – at 10,000.

Dr Pierre Rollin, an epidemiologist from the CDC, said the virus is spread by rodents. Read More