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Hantavirus - Camping Information Printer Friendly Version

This document summarizes the updated recommendations for hantavirus risk reduction for campers and hikers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information is adapted from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 26, 2002; Vol. 51; No. RR09.

No evidence exists to suggest that travel should be restricted in areas where hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) cases have occurred. The majority of typical tourist activities are associated with limited or no risk that travelers will be exposed to rodents or their excreta. However, persons engaged in outdoor activities (e.g., camping or hiking) should take precautions to reduce the likelihood of exposure to potentially infectious materials by following these recommendations:

  • Avoid touching live or dead rodents or disturbing rodent burrows, dens, or nests.
  • Do not use cabins or other enclosed shelters that are potentially rodent-infested until they have been appropriately cleaned and disinfected.
  • When an unoccupied cabin or other structure to be used has been closed for several weeks, ventilate the structure by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes before occupying. Use cross ventilation if possible. Leave the area (preferably remaining upwind) during the airing-out period. The airing helps to remove potentially infectious aerosols that might be present in the structure.
  • Do not pitch tents or place sleeping bags in proximity to rodent feces or burrows or near possible rodent habitat (e.g., dense brush or woodpiles).
  • Avoid sleeping on the bare ground. Use a cot with the sleeping surface at least 12 inches above the ground or use a tent with a floor.
  • Keep food in rodent-proof containers.
  • Dispose of all trash and garbage promptly in accordance with campsite regulations by burning, discarding in rodent-proof trash containers, or packing it out in rodent-proof containers.


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