Amid Lawsuit, Yosemite Takes Hantavirus Steps for New Season

Woman who contracted disease sues operator of Yosemite’s Curry Village for $3.25 mil

As roads open and Yosemite gears up for a new season, last year’s hantavirus outbreak that killed three and scared hundreds of thousands more remains more than just a memory.

One woman who contracted the disease is suing for over $3 million and park operators are taking steps to make sure freak outbreaks of this rare disease are less likely this year.

Cathy Carillo, who visited the park last June with her family, contracted the virus after staying in a “signature tent cabin” in Curry Village. Nine of the ten confirmed cases, including the three who died, stayed in these canvas-walled cabins.

“The doctors actually said I was a miracle because they didn’t think I was going to pull through,” she told a Los Angeles ABC affiliate. After coming down with the rodent-borne virus, Carillo spent nearly three weeks in the critical care unit of a hospital and had to spend another 10 days relearning how to walk and talk, she told KABC.

Her lawyer alleges that the management company that maintains the park’s resorts, Delaware North Company, knew of the disease since 2008, but was negligent in maintaining Curry Village.

The park has since demolished 91 of the double-walled signature tents and replaced them with single-walled tents, which are less hospitable to burrowing deer mice, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reports that park officials have installed 18,000 mouse traps, are plugging holes in lodging and bear boxes, and warning visitors this year with signs and notices in the park newspaper.

Tom Medema, the park's chief interpretation and education ranger, told the paper that few visitors this year have asked about the virus. But whether or not this year’s visitor numbers reflect a fallout from the scare, we’ll have to wait and see.