The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 28, 2012

Second person dies after vacationing at Yosemite

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after visiting one of the most popular parts of Yosemite National Park earlier this summer, and park officials were warning past visitors to be aware of some flu-like aches and symptoms and seek medical help immediately if they appear.

Health officials learned this weekend of the second hantavirus death, which killed a person who visited the park in June, spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement.

There was one other confirmed case of the illness, and a fourth is being investigated.

Yosemite officials said the four visitors might have been exposed while vacationing at the park's Curry Village, and are warning those who stayed in the village's tent cabins from mid-June through the end of August to beware of any symptoms of hantavirus, which can include fever, aches, dizziness and chills. An outreach effort is under way to contact visitors from that period who stayed in "Signature Tent Cabins," which have more insulation and amenities than other tent cabins.

Federal health officials say symptoms may develop up to 5 weeks after exposure to urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents, and Yosemite advised visitors to watch for symptoms for up to six weeks.

Of the 587 documented U.S. cases since the virus was identified in 1993, about one-third proved fatal. There is no specific treatment for the virus.

After-hours calls to Yosemite officials seeking further details were not immediately returned Monday night.

Following the first death, which was reported earlier this month, state health officials advised anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention and let doctors know if they were camping in Yosemite. Officials said thousands of people visit the park every month, so it would be impossible to track everyone who had set foot in Curry Village.

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