FRESNO (AP) — A man died and a woman became seriously ill after contracting a rare rodent-borne disease that might have been linked to their stay at a popular lodging area in Yosemite National Park, officials said Thursday.
The man was the first person to die from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome contracted in the park, though two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.
Testing by the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health showed the virus was present in fecal matter from deer mice trapped near Curry Village, an historic, family friendly area of cabins.
“There’s no way to tell for sure, but state health officials feel they may have contracted it here in Curry Village,” park spokesman Scott Gediman said.
The woman was expected to survive. Their names weren’t released.
Hantavirus develops from breathing in particles transmitted by rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms of hantavirus can include fever and muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and coughing. Symptoms can show up within one to six weeks after exposure.
There is no specific treatment for the virus, and about one-third of people who contract it will die.
Curry Village is the most popular and economical lodging area in the park, a picturesque assemblage of rustic cabins at the base of the 3,000-foot promontory Glacier Point. Earlier this summer park officials placed some of the area off limits when a geologist’s report revealed it is a rock fall hazard zone.