Yosemite Hantavirus Death

UPDATE: 8/29/12

Read more about the concerns of multiple cases clustered together.

UPDATED 8/28/12

A second person has died of the hantavirus disease after visiting Yosemite National Park in June. There is one other confirmed illness, and a forth potential illness is being investigated. These visitors stayed at the “Signature Tent Cabins” in the park’s Curry Village from mid-June through August of this year. Flu-like symptoms may take up to 5 weeks to appear after exposure.

ORIGINAL Report on 8/17/12

Tent cabins at Curry Village

A man has died, and a woman is recovering, after contracting hantavirus in Yosemite. Both visitors stayed at Curry Village around the same time in June in tent cabins about a 100 feet apart. The virus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is a life threatening illness spread by rodents, but not human-to-human contact. It’s also extremely rare and according to the AP report, there’s been less than 600 reported cases nationally since it was first identified in 1993. The park receives very good marks on their cleaning practices, especially given these are unsealed tents in the wilderness.

While this is getting a lot of press today, the news groups don’t appear to be trying to stir panic. They’ve reported that it’s very rare, but you should also be aware that if you’ve been in Yosemite and have flulike symptoms, you need to mention it to your doctor. Getting care as soon as possible is essential as there’s around a 30% mortality rate. There’s no curative treatments, and they just try to support the heart and lungs systems to get patients through it.

About Hantavirus

According to PubMed Health, “hantavirus is carried by rodents, especially deer mice. The virus is found in their urine and feces, but it does not make the animal sick. It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings…

The early symptoms of hantavirus disease are similar to the flu and include:

• Chills

• Fever

• Muscle aches

People with hantavirus may begin to feel better for a very short amount of time, but within 1-2 days, it becomes hard to breathe. The disease gets worse quickly. Symptoms include:

• Dry cough

• General ill feeling (malaise)

• Headache

• Nausea and vomiting

• Shortness of breath”