Story Summary

Deadly Yosemite Rodent Virus

- Two people confirmed to have hantavirus are already dead, a total of 6 have contracted the virus from staying at Yosemite.

- The virus is transmitted through contact with rodents, including rodent urine and droppings.

- More information about the virus can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/index.html.

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This story has 9 updates

After last year’s scare about Hantavirus, and visitors getting sick and dying, Yosemite is opening new, cleaner, cabins and closing the old ones.

Health & Fitness
09/27/12

Yosemite Employees Tested for Hantavirus

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK-

Almost 100 employees at Yosemite National Park were tested this week for the hantavirus.

The 96 employees volunteered to take the written survey and blood test. The tests were done Wednesday, and were conducted by the California Department of Public Health.

The hantavirus is a potentially deadly disease that is spread by exposure to infected mice or their droppings. There are nine confirmed cases of visitors to Yosemite National Park getting the hantavirus. All of them stayed in cabins in the same campground area. Three of those people died.

The CDPH wants to get a better understanding of how common or widespread the hantavirus may be. Sometimes infected people do not have symptoms, but it will still show up on a blood test.

The written survey includes questions to understand the employee’s work activities, exposure to mice and knowledge of the hantavirus.

The 96 employees were the first round who volunteered to be tested. Health officials will open up the test to other National Park Service employees soon.

The results of the tests are not known at this time.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK-

The National Park Service announced Thursday that a ninth person has been confirmed to be infected with a hantavirus infection.

The patient is said to have visited Yosemite National Park recently.

The NPS is working with the Centers for Disease Control for better public awareness and detection of the disease, the agency said Thursday in a news release.

Three people have died this year from hantavirus infections.

YOSEMITE, Calif. — There are now 3 confirmed fatalities linked a hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park.

Read more at ktla.com

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK-

Health officials report at least four more cases of hantavirus among Yosemite National Park visitors, bringing the total number of infected campers to six. Two of those people have died as a result of the mouse-born virus.

National Park Service and health officials have ramped up cleaning and rodent-trapping efforts since the first case was announced on August 16.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is contracted by coming into contact with saliva, droppings or urine of infected deer mice. An infected person will start to experience symptoms one to six weeks after exposure, including fever, headache, and muscle ache, and progresses rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death.

On Wednesday, Yosemite National Park closed all tent cabins in the Boystown area indefinitely as they work to thoroughly clean the area. Guests who had booked one of these signature cabins are being put up in different accommodations while at the park.

So far, five people from California and one visitor from Pennsylvania have contracted the hantavirus while staying at Yosemite. The Pennsylvania victim and one from California have died as a result of the illness.

After more reported hantavirus cases, Yosemite National Park has closed some cabins for cleaning and rodent trapping. Rowena Shaddox reports.

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Yosemite Tent Cabins

More than 90 cabins and tents at Yosemite National Park are closed and will remain so during Labor Day weekend because of ongoing efforts to rid the area of a deadly, mouse-born disease.

Earlier this month, Yosemite and officials at the California Department of Public Health announced that three people had contracted the hantavirus while staying at the national park. Two of those people have died from the disease. Since then, health and park officials have been doing special cleanings and rodent-removal in tent cabins.

On Tuesday they closed down all 91 tent cabins indefinitely.

Crews are implementing a large trapping program at the campsites to get rid of possibly-infected rodents, in addition to other cleaning efforts.

If anyone has booked a tent cabin in the near future, Yosemite officials told FOX40 employees at the park are helping find alternative sleeping arrangements either inside or outside the park.

Rodents can be a serious problem for any homeowner, but how dangerous can they be?

With the hauntavirus, it’s highly unlikely that you’d get it from rodents in your house. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only deer mice carry this virus in California. House mice, squirrels and chipmunks are rarely, if ever, infected.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned.

Along with the hantavirus, there’s nearly a dozen diseases rodents can carry, most of which are transmitted by someone coming into contact with their urine and droppings.

“If you find droppings, there’s a way into your house, so it needs to be found and fixed,” said Lito Marquez, with Earth Guard Pest Control.

And there’s a lot of ways for them to get in there.

“If you don’t have (a) door sweep, mice only need a quarter-inch to get through. Some of the biggest rats only need a half-inch. (Rodents can come in through) plumbing fittings. If the tree’s close to the roof, they can jump like squirrels and get in that way,” Marquez told FOX40.

And once they’re in, they make a mess.

“If they’ve been in your attic for any amount of time, it’s going to be up there. They can definately chew into your heating and air system, and they get blown in that way,” said Marquez.

So while the hantavirus shouldn’t be a concern, it’s still best to keep your home free of any furry little critters.

YOSEMITE—

Yosemite National Park is now dealing with possible four cases of the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a rare disease that has now taken the lives to two people.

The park has been working to tell recent visitors about the risk that they may have been exposed to the disease. Those being contacted are people who stayed at the “Signature Tent Cabins” at Curry Village between mid-June and the end of August.

In a release Monday, Yosemite officials say they learned of a 3rdcase of the disease – a case that resulted in a death. The park had already known of two cases, with one of those taking a life.

Further, in that same release, officials say they have learned of a 4th possible case of the disease.

Hantavirus is considered a rare but serious disease. Symptoms begin with fever and aches, but can progress to be life-threatening. About one third of identified hantavirus cases have proven fatal.

People can get the virus by coming into contact with hantavirus-infected rodents, including the rodent’s urine and droppings.

More information about the disease can be found at the CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/index.html.

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