Another Camper Dies of Rare Hantavirus

Another person has died after contracting hantavirus at Yosemite National Park. In total, four cases of the rare virus have been confirmed with two deaths.

More than a week after announcing two vacationers had contracted hantavirus — one of them fatally — Yosemite National Park said Monday that authorities have determined another person died after contracting the disease while visiting the park.

In addition to this fatality, Yosemite said in a news release that officials had identified “a probable fourth case of hantavirus.”

All four cases involve people who stayed at the park’s popular Curry Village in mid-June. The park said its officials are trying to reach those who vacationed in these “tent cabins” from June through this month, when the accommodations were thoroughly cleaned, and urge them to get medical help if they show any symptoms of hantavirus.

Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome is a rare but often fatal lung disease that kills about a third of those who get infected. Don Neubacher, Yosemite’s superintendent, noted that people typically don’t fall ill with hantavirus until between one and six weeks after they are exposed.

“The health of our visitors is our paramount concern, and we are making every effort to notify and inform our visitors of any potential illness,” Neubacher said. CNN, 28 August 2012.

The virus is carried by deer mice, cotton rats, rice rats, and white-footed mice and can appear in rodents’ urine, dropping and saliva.

Symptoms will appear one to six weeks after infection and start with fever, body aches and fatigue, followed by shortness of breath and coughing.