Health authorities in the U.S. are warning tourists who have visited the country’s beloved Yosemite National Park this summer to be aware of a deadly, rare virus spread by mouse droppings that has already caused two fatalities.
The two people who died were confirmed to have been infected with hantavirus, which causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Two other tourists who were at the park in the same time frame are also being monitored.
The National Park Service wants to get in touch with all tourists who stayed at the park’s Signature Tent Cabins at Curry Village from mid-June onwards to warn them of the dangers of hantavirus.
“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,” the NPS said in a statement.
Hantavirus is a very rare disease that can develop into a life-threatening illness. Early treatment is critical. Early symptoms include fever and aches. The virus is spread through contact with the urine, droppings, or saliva of rodents that carry the infection. Deer mice are the most common carriers of the virus.
“The health of our visitors is our paramount concern and we are making every effort to notify and inform our visitors of any potential illness,” Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher stated.
“Because people often don’t get sick from hantavirus until one to six weeks after exposure, we are encouraging anyone who stayed in Curry Village since June to be aware of the symptoms of hantavirus and seek medical attention at the first sign of illness”.