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Hantavirus at Yosemite: Are You Still at Risk?

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If you stayed in the Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village in Yosemite Valley between June 10 and August 24, of this year you may be at risk for HPS.

The National Park Service (NPS) has received confirmations from national and state public health agencies of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) cases linked to eight individuals who stayed one night or more in Yosemite since June of this year. Three cases have resulted in fatality; the five remaining individuals are either improving or recovering.

Seven of the eight cases of HPS have been linked to the Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village in Yosemite National Park’s valley floor. The disease itself is transmitted

On August 28, Yosemite National Park closed all Signature Tent Cabins  in the area indefinitely. The NPS has issued communications to guests who had stayed in the area between June 10 and August 24, alerting them to the HPS concerns and recommending that they seek medical attention if ill.

“Early medical attention and diagnosis of Hantavirus are critical,” stated Don Neubacher, superintendent of Yosemite National Park. “We urge anyone who may have been exposed to the infection to see their doctor at the first sign of symptoms and to advise them of the potential of Hantavirus.”

What is HPS and how do I know if I have it?

According to the National Park Service, HPS is caused by a virus that individuals get through contact with the urine, droppings or saliva of infected wild mice, primarily deer mice. Breathing small particles of mouse urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air is the most common means of acquiring infection.

Recent reports show that the populations dear mouse population is larger this year.

The illness starts one to six weeks after exposure with fever, headache, and muscle ache, and progresses rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if an individual experiences any of these symptoms and may have been exposed to rodents.

Keep reading for tips on preventing HPS