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article imageVisitors to Yosemite may be exposed to rare rodent disease

By Nancy Houser     Aug 30, 2012 in Health
Letters from park officials were sent to 1,700 visitors who stayed at Yosemite National Park in June, July and August. The letters warned of a possible exposure to hantavirus, a rare rodent-borne disease that has affected four visitors, killing two.
Park officials did not know for sure the death was linked to Yosemite or the campsite until the Centers for Disease Control determined over the weekend how the second visitor, a resident of Pennsylvania, had died.
Yosemite National Park is described as the crown jewel of all the United States National Parks, with park prices for adults $130.00 and children at $120.00 for ages 0-12. The park is home to the giant redwood Sequoias, the largest trees live to over 3,000 years of age with a 40-foot-diameter base.
Majestic scenery of Yosemite National Park near Camp Curry.
Majestic scenery of Yosemite National Park near Camp Curry.
A favorite area for families to stay is the 91 rustic tent cabins at Curry Village, a way to rough-it yet remain in the nation's most majestic settings. Unfortunately, this has become the center of a public health crisis after two visitors died from a potentially lethal rodent-borne disease of acute respiratory failure after overnight stays.
Fox News reports that four people contacted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome after staying at one of the "Signature Tent Cabins" at Curry Village in June. Hantavirus is spread by human contact with rodent feces, urine and saliva, or coming into contact by inhaling exposed airborne particles.
After the first death, the park sanitized the cabins and alerted the public through the media that the cause might have been diseased mice in the park. After every park tragedy, officials stress that Yosemite is a wilderness area and with it come some dangers.
Since the first illness, employees of Delaware North disinfected all 408 canvas-sided and wood-sided cabins in Yosemite's Curry Village. Workers are in the midst of shoring up the cabins in an attempt to keep mice from have easy access.
Yosemite Tuolumne River
Yosemite Tuolumne River
Copyright © 2011 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.
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