BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that the country has not been exposed to the fatal mouse-borne Hantavirus over which the U.S. has issued a health alert.
“The Ministry assures [the Lebanese] that the disease is currently non-existent in Lebanon and that there is no possibility for it to spread, given that it is not transmitted via human contact,” the ministry said in a statement.
The U.S. has sent warnings to 39 countries, most of them in the European Union, that their citizens might have been exposed to the lung-disease when they stayed in tent cabins in California’s Yosemite National Park between July and August of this year.
The disease has killed two American men and sickened four other people.
In its statement Wednesday, the Health Ministry denied what it claimed as reports by some media outlets on the presence in Lebanon of people infected with the disease, saying: “Following a review of [recent] deaths and an epidemiological investigation, the Health Ministry confirms that the reports are not true.”
It also said that citizens who visited Yosemite between July and August of this year and who would like further information can call the Epidemiological Watch Program at 01-614194.
Last week, Yosemite officials shut down the park’s tent cabins after finding that the double walls of several rooms had been infested by mice that carry the disease.
Early symptoms of the Hantavirus include headaches, fever, muscle aches, shortness of breath and coughing.