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Valley Public Radio Staff
Thu August 30, 2012
Yosemite Hantavirus Cases Grow, Now Six Infected
The outbreak of hantavirus among people who visited Yosemite National Park continues to grow, as two additional people have been diagnosed with the disease, according to the California Department of Public Health. That brings the total number of Yosemite related cases this year to six. Most of the individuals who became infected stayed at tent cabins in Curry Village earlier this summer.
Roughly two weeks ago, the Department of Public Health announced that two people had contracted the disease after a stay at the park, resulting in one death. On Tuesday, park officials announced a third confirmed case of the virus which also resulted in a death, as well as a fourth likely case of the disease.
On Thursday night the Department of Public Health announced two additional cases. Five of the individuals who contracted the disease are from California, and the sixth was from Pennsylvania. Three of the individuals have recovered from the illness, and one is still in the hospital. The two deaths included the visitor from Pennsylvania and another from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Park officials closed the "Signature Tent Cabins" at Curry Village on Tuesday at the request of the Department of Public Health. The National Park Service is contacting visitors who stayed at the cabins between June 10 and August 24 to alert them of their potential exposure to hantavirus. Visitors are urged to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of the disease, which include fever, headache, and muscle ache. The symptoms can begin as many as six weeks after exposure.
Hantavirus is a rare disease which is contracted through contact with the feces or urine of infected deer mice. Since 1993 there have been 63 cases of the disease in California residents, resulting in 21 deaths.
The Park Service has established a hotline for individuals with concerns and questions about the disease. The number is (209) 372-0822.