Yosemite park officials sent letters and emails to all the people that stayed overnight from June to August. Yosemite warned 1,700 visitors of Hantavirus exposure risk.
Enjoying the great outdoors obviously brings a variety of health risks, but stumbling upon bears or getting hassled by all kinds of bugs are on top. Getting exposed to Hantavirus is perhaps only a few people’s concern. According to recent warnings sent by Yosemite park officials, 1,700 people are now at risk.
It’s basically the beginning of a public health crisis. Two Yosemite National Park visitors died after staying overnight and getting exposed to rodent-borne disease. 1,700 people that have spent the night in the Yosemite dwellings have been informed they might have been exposed to the Hantavirus.
“We’re very concerned about visitors and employees” said Yosemite park spokesman Scott Gediman. “But we feel we are taking proactive steps in both cleaning the affected areas and in public education. But it’s absolutely impossible to eliminate all risk” he added.
Park officials began sending out warnings after a second Yosemite visitor died over the weekend. After the first Hantavirus fatality, Yosemite did sanitize cabins and sent out warnings for authorities to be on the watch out for reports of acute respiratory failure.
“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” said Don Neubacher, Yosemite superintendent.
The park also informed that the four Hantavirus victims stayed in Yosemite cabins between June 10 and June 20. The four people that got the virus didn’t necessarily stay in the same cabins but were in close proximity to each others.
For the moment being, Yosemite is still debating whether or not to send warnings to foreign countries too, seeing as 4 million tourists are coming to the park each year from all over the world. 70 percent of all Yosemite visitors usually stay in the Yosemite Valley, the same place where Curry Village is located.
Exposure to the Hantavirus usually brings about symptoms such as fever, muscle ache and headache. The virus kills about one third of the victims.