Rodent-Borne Illness Scare at Yosemite National Park

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Rodent-Borne Illness Scare at Yosemite National Park - as part of the news series by GeoBeats.

Yosemite National Park is home to a new disease, called hantavirus.

In June, two California residents had contracted the disease while staying in a section of the park known as Curry Village. One of the visitors, a 37-year-old man died from the disease in July, while the other is still recovering.

This week, Yosemite announced that a third victim had contracted the disease and has died, bringing total fatalities to 2. An official for the park states, “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.”

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is described as an infectious disease that begins with symptoms similar to the flu, but they can quickly worsen, with breathing difficult as the lungs fill with fluid, and kidney failure is possible. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available other than to ease the symptoms. Several species of rodents in the US carry the disease, primarily the deer mouse. Infection can occur by contact with their droppings, urine or saliva, or by breathing contaminated air.

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