A health alert out of Yosemite National Park’s Curry Village. A man from the Bay area is dead and a California woman is still battling an illness call Hantavirus. It’s spread by coming in contact with urine or feces from deer mice.
Yosemite says the tents at Curry Village are cleaned thoroughly and frequently, but still, two people got sick after coming into contact with mice droppings.
After staying in canvas tents earlier this summer, the California Health Department says a man and woman got Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. The man died last month. Deer mice in Yosemite tested positive for the virus, leading officials to put out a health warning. Yosemite National Park’s facilities vendor says it's not a matter of dirty tents.
“The California Department of Public Health, as well as NPS, did review the way we manage the property and they felt everything we do from a cleaning perspective to a maintenance perspective were all in good order,” said Lisa Cesaro of Delaware North.
Curry Village is open. One visitor we spoke with was not concerned about the health warning.
“I don't think it's something to get all worked up about,” said Peter Shikli, a park visitor.
Symptoms of Hantovirus show up one to six weeks after exposure. They include fever, headache, and muscle ache. The illnesses can progress rapidly with difficulty breathing. About 30% of cases result in death.
Yosemite park officials say they'll clean up any droppings found in their facilities.
“We are putting signs up. It's a public health warning. We're not doing anything differently with these cases, but putting signs up and reminding people to be careful,” said Scott Gediman, spokesperson for Yosemite National Park.
In the last 20 years, since Hantavirus has been on the park's radar, six million people have visited Curry Village and only two have gotten sick.