Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yosemite on virus alert before holiday

Janice Lloyd in USA Today: With one of the busiest weekends of the year approaching, Yosemite National Park officials are warning holiday travelers about the dangers of a rodent- borne virus following the deaths of two park visitors.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but serious respiratory illness that has been blamed for the fatalities. A total of four people have been infected. The two other people are recovering.

All four people stayed in “signature tent cabins” in Curry Village in the eastern side of the popular California park. Visitors are being given a brochure about the virus and how to protect themselves. Germs are transmitted in droppings, urine and saliva of mice and rodents.

“Hantavirus is a very serious thing and we want to convey the importance of that and the precautions people can take,” said Scott Gediman, spokesman for Yosemite National Park. “But we don't want people to think they can't come to Yosemite. Even with the hantavirus we expect to be full. Labor Day is traditionally very busy.”...

Transmission electron micrograph of the Sin Nombre Hantavirus. Hantaviruses that cause Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) are carried in rodent droppings, especially the deer mouse. Incubation lasts for 1–5wks. Sickness begins with fever and muscle aches, followed by shortness of breath and coughing. From the Centers for Disease Control

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