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Three more hantavirus cases linked to Yosemite

The total is now six cases, health authorities say. Two of the victims died. The park has closed 91 'tent cabins' to which some cases were traced.

August 31, 2012|By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times
  • Six cases of the rare, rodent-borne hantavirus have been linked to Yosemite National Park. The virus is spread through droppings, saliva or urine of infected mice or dirt and dust containing those byproducts.
Six cases of the rare, rodent-borne hantavirus have been linked to Yosemite… (Kenny Karst / EPA )

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — The number of hantavirus cases linked to Yosemite National Park rose Thursday as authorities said three more cases of the rare, rodent-borne disease have been confirmed.

The California Department of Public Health announced two new cases and confirmed reports of the death of a Pennsylvania man and a non-fatal case involving a Californian, bringing the total number of cases linked to the park to six.

Two people — the Pennsylvania man and a California man — have died. The remaining cases all involve California residents who are recovering, said Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

Officials have shut down the 91 "signature tent cabins" in Curry Village, where they traced some cases to deer mouse droppings found in the area. The first three victims all stayed in cabins within 100 feet of one another in mid-June. Cobb said officials are still trying to determine where the other victims stayed.

Only 587 hantavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011. About one-third of those cases have been fatal.

Spread through droppings, saliva or urine of infected mice — or dirt and dust containing those byproducts — hantavirus takes one to six weeks to show in humans. Symptoms are initially flu-like, but can quickly turn deadly as one's lungs begin to fill with fluid.

kate.mather@latimes.com

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