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Hantavirus in the USA (Washington State)

28 Jun 2017

Skagit County has reported a case of Sin Nombre hantavirus on 26 June 2017 bringing this year's total in Washington State to 4 cases. In North America, hantavirus is carried by deer mice and is found in the animal's urine, droppings and saliva. Health officials have said that the disease can be deadly, causing respiratory illness called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.

Advice to travellers

The risk to most travellers is low. Risk is increased in those living or working  close to rural - forested areas/rodent infested buildings; campers, agricultural workers, building workers, soldiers are most likely to be exposed.

  • Travellers at risk should be aware of the possibility of infection and take steps to minimise exposure to rodent excreta: Protective clothing including face masks and ensuring adequate ventilation should be used when working in environments which may be contaminated with rodent faeces.
  • Accomodation that has been out of use for many months should be well ventilated prior to entry.

There is no licensed vaccine available in Europe.