Sep 13, 2012
Ninth Yosemite hantavirus case reported
A ninth case of hantavirus in a visitor to Yosemite National Park in California has been reported. The latest case is in a state resident who, like seven other infected persons, stayed in a Curry Village insulated signature tent cabin this summer, says a story today in the Los Angeles Times. The new case, which did not involve respiratory symptoms, is distinct from the others in that it is considered a hantavirus infection rather than the full-fledged hantavirus pulmonary syndrome confirmed in the other cases, the California Department of Health said. The patient has reportedly recovered. Three people in the outbreak, which began in June, have died. The disease is spread through the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents and most commonly occurs when people come in contact with enclosed areas that have been infested with mice. The outbreak is highly unusual and may be linked to an overpopulation of deer mice in Yosemite, says the LA Times reported yesterday. Yosemite officials are contacting some 230,000 people who reserved lodging in the park this summer to trace any potential additional cases; the disease's flulike symptoms take from 1 to 6 weeks to appear.
Sep 13 LA Times story
Sep 12 LA Times story
Ebola death toll doubles in DR Congo
An ongoing outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has killed 31 people, with 65 probable or suspected cases plus 108 people under surveillance, Reuters reported today. The World Health Organization (WHO) last reported 14 deaths from the disease in the DRC on Sep 5. Among the dead are five healthcare workers. A WHO spokesperson told Reuters, "The epidemic is not under control. On the contrary the situation is very, very serious." The disease can kill up to 90% of those infected. The current outbreak has so far struck the northeastern province of Orientale but has not reached more populous areas such as Kinshasa, the capital, which alone has 9 million inhabitants. The cases to date are suspected to stem from contaminated bush meat hunted by local villagers, according to Reuters. Officials have determined the DRC Ebola outbreak to be distinct from a recent outbreak of the disease in neighboring Uganda.
Sep 13 Reuters article