During my short trip to California for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, I spent the last days of holiday at Yosemite National Park. Some of you may have heard about the recent deaths of four visitors, who stayed overnight at the Curry Village Camp, in Yosemite. I stayed at the same camp, luckily not in the same "signature" tent where those campers contracted Hantavirus.
Yesterday I received this email from the U.S. Department of the Interior:
Dear Yosemite National Park Visitor,
Every year we are proud to welcome almost four million people to Yosemite National Park. Thank you for your visit this summer.
As you may be aware, Yosemite has been in the news recently related to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a rare but serious disease that occurs throughout the United States, usually in rural areas. Your recent overnight visit to Yosemite did not include a stay in lodging where the known hantavirus infections might have occurred; however, we wanted to take this opportunity to increase public awareness about hantavirus. We are contacting you as the reservation holder and we ask you to share the following information with the rest of your party.
Hantavirus can be contracted as a result of contact with urine, droppings or saliva from infected rodents, primarily deer mice. It is not spread person-to-person. State and NPS public health officials have confirmed that eight people who visited the park this summer have been diagnosed with HPS. Tragically, three people have died; the other five individuals have recovered.
Seven of the confirmed cases have been linked to overnight stays in June and July in Curry Village's Signature tent cabins, which have been closed indefinitely. The eighth case involves a visitor who stayed in multiple High Sierra Camps. We have reached out to reservation holders who stayed in these facilities since early June to provide information on HPS and to encourage anyone who exhibits hantavirus symptoms to seek medical attention.
Public health officials have no evidence at this time to indicate that persons who stayed elsewhere in the park this summer were at increased risk of exposure to hantavirus. Nevertheless, we want to ensure that all our guests have accurate and current information on hantavirus. For additional information about Yosemite and reports of hantavirus, please visit Yosemite’s website at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hantavirus.htm. If you have additional questions about hantavirus, you can find out more on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/ or by calling their hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Yosemite is working closely with public health officials to reduce the risk of hantavirus. We continue to make the health and safety of our visitors our top priority, and we hope to see you in one of our nation’s treasured national parks again soon.
Yosemite National Park