Hantavirus: Yosemite Alerts More Visitors
Yosemite National Park reached out to an additional 230,000 visitors through letters this week to address fears about the hantavirus outbreak and complaints about a lack of information.
This round of alerts adds to the thousands of letters previously sent to people who stayed overnight in the “Signature Tents” at Curry Village or in lodging in the High Sierra Loop. Eight cases of hantavirus have been traced back to these locations since mid-June.
The newest letter was created to educate visitors about the disease and their risk of contracting it. It was sent in response to an onslaught of phone calls from worried visitors who stayed in other Yosemite camps.
“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,” park officials wrote. “Nevertheless, we want to ensure that all our guests have accurate and current information on hantavirus.”
Many Yosemite visitors complained about a lack of information about hantavirus from officials, according to the report by the Los Angeles Times. Park officials responded that their initial outreach was to those most at risk for contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
The mouse-bourne disease is rare and the outbreak in Yosemite is particularly unusual. Rarely do officials see more than one case from the same location in the same year. Once contracted, nearly one-third of cases are fatal. The current outbreak has already claimed the lives of three Yosemite visitors.