Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2018: 236 logo

Delaware Health Alert Network #275

September 6, 2012 9:32 am

Health Alert

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) alerts the medical community to consider the diagnosis of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in patients who may have had recent exposure to rodents or a history of travel to Yosemite National Park in California between June and August 2012.


HPS is a febrile illness characterized by bilateral interstitial pulmonary infiltrates and respiratory compromise usually requiring supplemental oxygen and clinically resembling acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). The patients typically present with fever, chills, myalgia, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms that rapidly progress into respiratory distress requiring supplemental oxygen and/or intubation, non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, and shock.


There is no specific treatment available, but early recognition and administration of supportive care greatly increase the chance of survival.


Since June 10, 2012, six confirmed cases of HPS have been associated with staying at Yosemite National Park in California. Two of the ill persons died. Additional suspected cases are being investigated from multiple health jurisdictions.


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is considered a rapidly reportable disease in Delaware. (“Rapidly reportable” means report immediately by telephone, fax or other electronic means.)

Other conditions require reporting within 24 hours (such as STDs) or 48 hours. Laboratories and healthcare providers are required to report any suspected case to DPH, Bureau of Epidemiology (1-888-295-5156 or 1-302-744-1033). An epidemiologist is available 24/7 to take your call.


HPS is an acute, zoonotic viral disease that is spread by contact with infected rodents, primarily deer mice. Most persons with HPS are infected by breathing in small viral particles from rodent urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air. The fatality rate is approximately 36%.

There is no known person-to-person transmission.


Laboratory testing of patients with symptoms consistent with HPS is required to confirm the diagnosis. HPS-specific testing can be done with serum or whole blood, or with tissue samples in fatal cases. Please contact DPH Bureau of Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156 to coordinate testing and Delaware Public Health Laboratory at 302-223-1520 for courier pickup.

Additional Information


You are receiving this message because you are a registered member of the Delaware Health Alert Network. If you are not a member and would like to subscribe, please register at

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
NOTE: This page is for informational purposes only and dated material (e.g. temporary websites) may not be available.