Yosemite Notifies 230,000 About Hantavirus

Sep 14, 2012
Outside Magazine

Yosemite National Park confirmed on Thursday that a ninth person had contracted hantavirus, according to Reuters. The park visitor, from California, has recovered. The notice came a day after the park notified roughly 230,000 people about the outbreak by email, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The park had previously notified roughly 30,000 people who had slept in locations where the infections had occurred, according to Reuters. Eight people were infected while staying in the tent cabins at Curry Village. One person was infected in multiple High Sierras Camps in the backcountry. Three of the nine people died as a result of contracting the virus. Yosemite officials said they had no evidence to suggest that anyone staying in other locations has been exposed to the virus, but they wanted to send out information as a precaution.

Hantavirus can be contracted when people come in contact with the urine, droppings, or saliva from infected rodents, primarily from deer mice. Hantavirus can not be passed person to person. The CDC says there were 587 cases of hantavirus reported in 34 states up until December 2011, with about 36 percent of those cases resulting in death. Public health officials said it is rare to have more than one case in the same location in the same year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Scientists and officials are investigating the cause of the outbreak, one possible cause might be a boom in the deer mice population in Yosemite.

For additional updates, go to nps.gov/yose and the CDC website.

—Joe Spring

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