The State Health Department of Baden-Wuerttemberg has reported an increase in hantavirus cases in 2017. A total of 441 hantavirus cases have been reported to date, which is higher than in the past 4 years. The virus is carried by rodents such as the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and is excreted in the animal's faeces and urine. The Swabian Alps, the Alpine Foreland, Upper Swabia , the Odenwald and the Neckargäu and Tauber plateaus are the areas most affected.
Advice to travellers
The risk to most travellers is low. Risk is increased in those living or working close to rural - forested areas/rodent infested buildings; campers, agricultural workers, building workers, soldiers are most likely to be exposed.
- Travellers at risk should be aware of the possibility of infection and take steps to minimise exposure to rodent excreta: Protective clothing including face masks and ensuring adequate ventilation should be used when working in environments which may be contaminated with rodent faeces.
- Accomodation that has been out of use for many months should be well ventilated prior to entry.
There is no licensed vaccine available in Europe