The National Park Service Office of Public Health learned over the weekend of a confirmed third case, which resulted in a fatality, and probable fourth case, of hantavirus in individuals who visited Yosemite National Park in June of this year. Currently Delaware North Company (DNC) is working to contact all visitors who stayed in “Signature Tent Cabins” at Curry Village from mid-June through the end of August. These individuals are being informed of the recent cases and are being advised to seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit any symptoms of hantavirus.
HPS is caused by a virus that individuals get through contact with the urine, droppings or saliva of infected rodents, primarily deer mice. Not all deer mice carry hantavirus, but deer mice with hantavirus have been found throughout the United States. Most infections are caused by breathing small particles of mouse urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air.
Symptoms include: fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders.There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Advanced stages of HPS include: lungs fill with fluid and shortness of breath.
If you feel you may have been exposed to the virus you should seek medical attention from your personal physician immediately.
To minimize exposure to HPS:
- Avoid areas, especially indoors, where wild rodents are likely to have been present.
- Keep food in tightly sealed containers and store away from rodents.
- Keep rodents out of buildings by removing stacked wood, rubbish piles, and discarded junk from around homes and sealing any holes where rodents could enter.
- When cleaning sleeping or living areas, open windows to air out the areas for at least two hours before entering. Take care not to stir up dust. Wear plastic gloves and spray areas contaminated with rodent droppings and urine with a 10% bleach solution or other household disinfectants and wait at least 15 minutes before cleaning the area. Place the waste in double plastic bags, each tightly sealed, and discard in the trash. Wash hands thoroughly afterward.
- Do not touch or handle live rodents and wear gloves when handling dead rodents. Spray dead rodents with a disinfectant and dispose of in the same way as droppings. Wash hands thoroughly after handling dead rodents.
- If there are large numbers of rodents in a home or other buildings, contact a licensed pest control service to remove them.
For more information on HPS visit the Center for Disease Controls page at: http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/hps/index.html