Six visitors to Yosemite National Park have been become ill with hantavirus over the past three weeks after staying in cabins at the park in June or July, according to California state health officials. Two of the visitors have died as a result of the syndrome.
Yosemite has closed 91 tent cabins at Curry Village at Yosemite Valley, where five of the six infections originated. The park has conducted rodent testing and determined that 18 percent of the mice tested throughout the park were positive for hantavirus.
Yosemite has notified over 2,700 visitors via email or letters that they should seek immediate medical attention if they experience flu-like symptoms or respiratory problems.
The hantavirus outbreak in Yosemite is a good reminder to New Mexican residents that it is important to use precautions if you see evidence of mice. Hantavirus is most common in New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Arizona and California. There have been 600 cases reported since 1993 when the syndrome was first identified. Half of the 24 people who have contracted the disease this year have died. However, the average death since 1993 is lower at 36.39 percent of cases ending in death.
Hantavirus is an illness with flu-like symptoms that also affects the lungs. It has an incubation period of up to six weeks. Hantavirus is often spread by mice. The current outbreak has surprised health officials because usually cases are isolated, and having multiple cases originating in close proximity is usual.
When the presence of mice is evident, it is important to address the issue. Vicki Kramer, Chief of Vector-Borne Diseases for the California Health Department recommends spraying any mouse droppings with a mixture of bleach and water, then wiping it up with paper towels or a mop. She says it is important not to sweep or vacuum up mouse droppings. The health report to Yosemite also recommended taking steps to prevent mice from entering areas where people sleep.
For more on the Yosemite outbreak, please visit the Huffington Post. If you have any mice issues, Pest Defense Solutions can help. To learn more about our rodent control services, please click here. Please fill out a schedule request form if you’d like to schedule an appointment or request additional information.Tags: Deer Mice, Hantavirus, House Mice, Mice, Pest Control, Rodent Control, Rodents