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| p.1 #1 · Yosemite Informs Another 230,000 Visitors of Hantavirus Outbreak |
Yosemite Informs Another 230,000 Visitors of Hantavirus Outbreak
Officials at Yosemite National Park have told another 230,000 people who visited the park last summer about a hantavirus outbreak that occurred there in June.
According to the Los Angeles Times, those who were sent the informational letter via email on Wednesday did not stay in the area of the park where the hantavirus outbreak was reported, but park officials wanted to quell the fears of any concerned guests.
Thousands of letters have already been sent to visitors who did stay in the affected area, in tent cabins in Curry Village in the High Sierra Loop. Eight cases of hantavirus, three of those fatal, have been traced to the tent cabins.
According to the newspaper, the new letter tells recipients that "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."
"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," the letter added. "Nevertheless, we want to ensure that all our guests have accurate and current information on hantavirus."
Hantavirus can take up to six weeks to surface with symptoms, and it is spread through urine, droppings or saliva of infected rodents, officials have said.
Enclosed areas that have been infested with mice are prime spots for transmission of the respiratory disease. Park officials said Wednesday that an exceptionally large deer mouse population may have contributed to the hantavirus outbreak, the newspaper reported.
Since news of the outbreak broke, park rangers have received thousands of calls through an emergency hotline, the LA Times reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has notified 39 countries whose citizens might be at risk and the World Health Organization has issued a global alert about the outbreak.