Lifestyle & Belief

Third death reported from Yosemite hantavirus outbreak


This has been the deadliest year yet for Yosemite National Park, with 14 deaths so far.


David McNew

A West Virginia man is the third visitor to Yosemite National Park to die from an outbreak of hantavirus. The number of confirmed cases has risen to eight, reports Reuters. 

Officials at Yosemite doubled the scope of its hantavirus warning to include 22,000 visitors who may have been exposed to the deadly mouse-borne disease. 

Up to 10,000 people who visited the park's Curry Village lodging area this summer were already warned about their risk of contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. The virus may incubate for up to six weeks after exposure.

AP reports that the number of cases could rise after alerts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent to public health agencies, doctors and hospitals have turned up other suspected cases.

Dr Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston health department, told the Guardian newspaper that he had not heard about any other cases. 

"The time has lapsed in a way that it should not be a concern," Gupta said.

Health officials told the Guardian that hantavirus isn't spread from person to person and that the disease is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents and carried on airborne particles and dust.

The symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chills and muscle and body aches. Rapid acute respiratory and organ failure can follow within six weeks. There is no cure for the virus and it can affect people of any age.