Man dies from rodent disease found in Yosemite
The man was the first person to die from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome contracted in Yosemite National Park.
The Associated Press
FRESNO, Calif. — A man died and a woman became seriously ill after contracting a rare rodent-borne disease that might have been linked to their stay at a popular lodging area in Yosemite National Park, officials said Thursday.
The man was the first person to die from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome contracted in the park, though two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.
Testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health showed the virus was present in fecal matter from deer mice trapped near Curry Village, a historic, family friendly area of cabins.
"There's no way to tell for sure, but state health officials feel they may have contracted it here in Curry Village," park spokesman Scott Gediman said.
The woman was expected to survive.
Hantavirus develops from breathing in particles transmitted by rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms of hantavirus can include fever and muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and coughing. Symptoms can show up one to six weeks after exposure.
There is no specific treatment for the virus, and about one-third of people who contract it die.
Curry Village is the most popular and economical lodging area in the park, a picturesque assemblage of rustic cabins at the base of the 3,000-foot promontory Glacier Point.
Both victims stayed at the park on overlapping days in June in canvas tent cabins about 100 feet apart from each other, park officials said.
There have been 60 cases in California and 587 nationally since hantavirus pulmonary syndrome was first identified in 1993. These two new cases bring to four the number of people stricken in California this year.
The park concessionaire has been disinfecting cabins.