Yosemite National Park, CA – A rare rodent-borne disease has claimed its second victim after the visitor traveled to Yosemite National Park in Northern California this summer. Park officials are telling potential visitors to be on the look out for flu like symptoms when they leave the park in order to avoid a potential outbreak of the disease.
The disease is called the Hantavirus. Hantavirus is a hemorrhagic fever which causes those infected to bleed through multiple orifices in their bodies, ultimately leading to death.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement that the public needs to be aware of the disease to prevent further deaths.
Federal authorites say that symptoms can develop up to five weeks after exposure to the urine, stool, or spit of an infected rodent. The virus has no cure, and a third of those infected will die.
The first death was reported earlier this month.
State health officials are telling local residents to be aware of the symptoms and tell doctors if they have visited Yosemite if they notice any similar symptom. Park officials say thousands of visitors have come to the Curry Village section of Yosemite before and after the disease showed up, so tracking them all to warn them would be impossible.
It was not clear how many people stayed in the cabins in the period in which park officials are warning visitors.
Gediman said they have contractors working on the cabins in the area to protect future guests.
Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“They’re doing everything they can to eliminate areas where mice can get into the cabins. This was never because the cabins were dirty, it was never because we didn’t take care of them. This is just because approximately 20 percent of all deer mice are infected with hantavirus. And they’re here in Yosemite Valley.”