3rd death confirmed from hantavirus in Yosemite

August 28, 2012 CALIFORNIA - Another visitor to Yosemite National Park this summer who contracted the hantavirus while staying in the popular Curry Village has died, park officials said Monday. That makes three confirmed cases, including two deaths. A fourth case, also reported Monday, is being investigated. All four visitors stayed in Curry Village, a collection of tents and cabins at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley, over a one-week period in mid-June. Park officials are now contacting everyone who has stayed in the tent cabins since mid-June to warn them about the virus and advise them to seek medical attention if they have any symptoms of infection. “This is being taken very seriously,” said park spokesman Scott Gediman. “We’ve been able to isolate the cabin area, we’ve done the thorough cleaning, we’re monitoring the area, we’re trapping mice and testing them. We’re making sure the cabins are shored up. We’re being very active, and we have been since the cases came to light.” Hantavirus is a rare viral infection carried by mice and passed to humans by the rodents’ feces or urine. Most people infected with the virus suffer flu-like symptoms first, including fever, headache and muscle pains, often in the thighs, back and hips. After two to seven days, many patients have severe difficulty breathing and can die. Patients may not develop symptoms until one to six weeks after exposure. There is no cure or virus-specific treatment for hantavirus. The first victim reported was a 37-year-old Alameda County man who died in late July. The second victim was a woman from Southern California who survived the infection. The third victim is a man who lives in another state and also died in July. No immediate information was available on the fourth victim, who is expected to survive. Public health officials are waiting for lab tests to confirm that the fourth victim has hantavirus, but given the symptoms it’s likely that patient also contracted the virus in Yosemite, Gediman said. –SF Gate 
Third death confirmed: After learning that a Pennsylvania visitor’s death was caused by hantavirus, Yosemite officials sent emails Monday evening to those who stayed in the “signature tent cabins” in Curry Village between mid-June and late August, said park spokesman Scott Gediman. Letters were sent to visitors whose email addresses were not on record. The fatality marked the third confirmed case of the rare rodent-borne disease linked to the park. Last week, park officials said a 37-year-old Bay Area man had died and an Inland Empire woman in her 40s was recovering after being exposed to the virus. Park officials believe there may be a fourth case but had yet to receive confirmation Tuesday. All four stayed separately at the signature tent cabins in June, Gediman said. Officials have traced the outbreak to deer mouse droppings in the area. Repeated cases of hantavirus at the same location within a year is “very rare,” said Dr. Barbara Knust, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been 587 cases of human infection from hantavirus recorded between 1993, when the virus was first identified in the Four Corners area, and 2011, according to the CDC. About one-third have been fatal. Transmitted through urine, droppings or saliva of infected rodents, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome takes between one and six weeks to manifest itself in humans, officials said. The symptoms — fatigue, fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain — are often confused with the flu, Knust said, but can quickly worsen as one’s lungs begin to fill with fluid. In general, Knust said, the virus is transmitted when people come in contact with an enclosed area that has been infested. The disease is not spread from human to human, officials said. –LA Times
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This entry was posted in 2012, Dark Ages, Disease outbreak, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Ecoystem crisis due to population boom, Environmental Threat, High-risk potential hazard zone, Mass animal deaths, Pest Explosions, Pestilence Watch, Prophecies referenced, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

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