World Bulletin / News Desk
Health officials in France were investigating two suspected cases of deadly mouse-borne hantavirus in people who may have been exposed at Yosemite National Park this summer. .
Some 1,923 Europeans in 18 countries may be at risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome from visits to the U.S. national park in California between June and August, according to an assessment by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday.
"In France, the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance has reported an ongoing investigation into two potentially exposed cases," the European CDC said.
The disease has so far been confirmed to have killed two men and sickened four other people, all U.S. citizens, prompting the U.S. 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 2,500 live outside the United States, park service epidemiologist David Wong said. U.S. 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, which kills 36 percent of those it infects, but early detection through blood tests greatly increases survival rates. The disease has never been known to be transmitted between humans.
Last week, park officials shut down the "Signature" tent cabins after finding deer mice, which carry the disease, 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 six weeks after exposure and can lead to severe breathing difficulties and death.
US records more deaths from drug, alcohol overdoses than car accidents
Paris being hit by the longest and most intense winter pollution peak in 10 years, according French air quality watchdog
A third of the world's polar bears will disappear in next 40 years
About 20 percent of Canadians have little or no coverage
Students in a private Australian high school have recreated a malaria drug in the school laboratory
2 studies claim psilocybin, outlawed by federal government, could significantly improve patients’ mood
Global crises changing nature of hotel industry, expert warns Mediterranean Week of Economic Leaders conference
Fighting climate change means different things in different cities, as this snapshot illustrates:
The Paris deal, now in force, calls for capping global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, and at 1.5 C (2.7 F) if possible.
British MPs voted in February to allow the creation of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) babies with DNA from three people.
The H5N6 virus was first confirmed on November 18 at a farm in central South Korea and it has since spread to farms around the country, with the total number of cases now standing at 46.
It is one of the biggest clinical trials involving the disease ever undertaken and has revived hopes in the scientific community of a breakthrough in the battle against AIDS.
Nuclear energy: who's advancing and who's retreating
A killer bird flu that is sweeping Europe has forced Sweden to cull more than 200,000 chickens
Study finds blood of old mice makes young mice feeble; scientists hope to discover more in human trials soon
Drug overdoses are now killing more Americans than car crashes, putting the sheer scale of the crisis into perspective.