Officials at one of America's most popular
national parks warned some 1,700 visitors Tuesday to be on the
lookout for symptoms of a rare disease that has killed two
vacationers at the Yosemite National Park in California.
The so-called hantavirus is a rare, rodent-borne disease that is carried in the urine, saliva and feces of infected deer mice. If the virus is contracted, the symptoms appear one to six weeks after exposure with fever, headache and muscle ache, and progresses rapidly to severe difficulty in breathing and, in some cases, death.
Yosemite officials believe that the three confirmed cases and one probable case occurred when the victims stayed at tent cabins in the park's Curry Village from mid-June onwards. They launched an outreach effort to contact all other visitors to the popular vacation spot.
"The health of our visitors is our paramount concern and we are making every effort to notify and inform our visitors of any potential illness," said Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent.
"Because people often don't get sick from hantavirus until one to six weeks after exposure, we are encouraging anyone who stayed in Curry Village since June to be aware of the symptoms of hantavirus and seek medical attention at the first sign of illness."
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