A popular lodging area in Yosemite National Park could be linked to a rare rodent-borne disease that has killed a California tourist who stayed there this summer, officials said.
A man who stayed at Curry Village in June died after contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. A woman who also stayed in a canvas tent cabin about 100 feet from him on overlapping days has become seriously ill, park officials said.
The virus was found in the faeces of deer mice in the family friendly lodging area of cabins, according to tests by the Centres for Disease Control and state health officials.
“There’s no way to tell for sure, but state health officials feel they may have contracted it here in Curry Village,” park spokesman Scott Gediman said. The man, who was from Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay area, would be the first person to die from the disease contracted in the park, though two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.
Hantavirus develops from breathing in dust contaminated with rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and coughing.