Following Two Deaths, Yosemite Officials Warn Visitors of Dangerous Virus


Labor Day weekend is a popular time to head outdoors with the family, fire up the barbecue, and do some camping. Unfortunately, rangers at the Curry Village campground in Yosemite National Park—a popular destination for families—are warning visitors to the site after two people died from a dangerous disease.

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Four people who stayed at the campground in June contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome—a potentially-fatal virus spread by the feces and urine of rodents. “Of the 587 documented U.S. cases since the virus was identified in 1993,”>/a> reports, “about one-third proved fatal.”

After news of the first death was released, park officials sprang into action. They disinfected all of the cabins and tents in Curry Village, and fortified the enclosures against rodent intrusion. Still, rangers feel the need to remind visitors that they are entering a wild area where encounters with rodents—and their feces—may not be preventable.

“There are rodents and some are infected and that’s what happens,” park spokesman Scott Gediman explained. “This is a wilderness setting. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the cabins.”

Photo credit: MiguelVieira/Creative Commons

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