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Virus Claims Life of Third Yosemite Camper

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September 7, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) are implicated as carriers of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in Yosemite and other parts of the U.S. Photo from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Park Service confirmed Thursday (Sept. 6) that a third camper has succumbed to the hantavirus since staying this summer at Yosemite National Park and the number of confirmed cases has now risen to eight.

Three of these cases have resulted in the death of the individual concerned, while the five remaining victims are said to be improving or recovering, examiner.com reported. The confirmed cases include six individuals from California, one from Pennsylvania and one from West Virginia. Seven of the eight cases of HPS have been linked to the “Signature Tent Cabins” – operated by DNC Parks and Resorts – located in Curry Village in Yosemite Valley.

However, in a somewhat worrying turn of events, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also advised the National Park Service that one of the eight confirmed victims likely contracted HPS after staying in multiple Yosemite High Sierra Camps in July.

While the High Sierra Camps – at Sunrise, May Lake, Glen Aulin, Tuolumne, Vogelsang and Merced Lake – are all located in areas other than Curry Village, the locations also use tent cabins and dining tents. The CDPH is of the opinion that the stay in the High Sierra Camps is the most likely source of that person’s infection. Fortunately the individual concerned only exhibited mild symptoms of HPS and is now recovering.

In a sign of the continued severity and seriousness of the HPS outbreak Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher said in a statement that: “we urge visitors who may have been exposed to hantavirus to seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms.”

These symptoms – which generally begin one to five weeks after exposure – include fatigue, fever, chills, and muscle aches. About half of patients will experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and abdominal pain. The disease progresses rapidly (4-10 days after initial symptoms) to include coughing, shortness of breath and severe difficulty breathing. If you visited Yosemite National Park recently and are displaying the above symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention.

 

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