Bay City News Service—The number of people infected with the rare hantavirus pulmonary syndrome this year after visits to Yosemite National Park has risen to six, according to state and park health officials.
Two of the six have died, including an Alameda County man and a Pennsylvania resident, after contracting the virus apparently from visits to Yosemite between early June and mid-July, according to the state Department of Public Health and Yosemite officials.
The illness is contracted through exposure to the urine, droppings or saliva of infected wild mice, often deer mice. Symptoms show up one to six weeks later and include fever, headache, muscle ache, and, in extreme cases, difficulty breathing.
The four other cases are California residents and three of them are recovering while one remains hospitalized, health officials said. The recovering and hospitalized people are from Southern California, the Sacramento area and the Bay Area.
Health officials said four of the visitors stayed in the "signature cabins" of the Boystown area of Curry Village, while another lodged in an unspecified area of the village. The location where the sixth person stayed is under investigation.
Curry Village is comprised of tent cabins, campgrounds and a stone lodge, and is managed by Delaware North Companies.
Earlier this week, all the tent cabins in the Boystown area were shut down indefinitely and the National Park Service emailed alerts to guests who had stayed in the area between June 10 and Aug. 24, health officials said.
The alert was sent to 1,700 previous guests, and notices have been posted at park entrances, lodging areas and campgrounds alerting visitors about the hantavirus and providing guidelines for staying protected, a Yosemite Park ranger said earlier this week.
The virus was first identified in 1993. Since then, only 63 cases have been reported in California, with 21 of those resulting in death, health officials said.
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