Suwanchai Wattanyingchaorenchai, deputy director general of the Communicable Disease Control Department, said alerts were also issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following last week’s report by officials at a California park who said up to 10,000 campers could have been exposed to the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome from sleeping in its cabins since June 10.
Though Thailand had only a few hantavirus cases, without any deaths, in Kanchanaburi and Bangkok in 1985 and one case in Bangkok in 1998, health authorities have been instructed to work closely with officials of the Livestock Department and National Park and Wildlife Department to avoid exposure to rodents.
According to the American warning, deer mice are the principal carrier of hantavirus.
US health officials say the disease isn't spread from person to person. There is no cure for the virus, which can affect people of any age. The disease is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents and carried on airborne particles and dust.
People can be infected by inhaling the virus or by handling infected rodents. Infected people usually have flu-like symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, chills and muscle and body aches. The illness can take six weeks to incubate before rapid acute respiratory and organ failure.