Yosemite National Park "Ground Zero" For Deadly Hantavirus Outbreak

Avoiding contact with rodents is key to prevention

Statement of Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (September 4, 2012)

It has been reported recently that at least six visitors camping at Yosemite National Park’s popular Curry Village were diagnosed with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)—two of whom died. Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, released the following statement:

“The recent outbreak of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome at Yosemite National Park has drawn attention to a very serious disease that should not be taken lightly. HPS is a disease that comes from contact with infected rodents or their urine, droppings or saliva. The HPS infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another.

“As we have seen already this week, HPS is potentially deadly. There is no specific treatment for HPS, and there is no cure. But early diagnosis and treatment in an intensive care unit may improve a person’s chances of recovery. The key to preventing HPS is eliminating or reducing contact with rodents in your home, workplace, or campsite.

“Campers should listen to park officials and seek immediate medical attention if they show the flu-like symptoms of the disease.”

Editor’s Note: For more information and resources from the American Lung Association regarding hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, visit http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/hantavirus-pulmonary-syndrome/

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About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.