Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Yosemite camper dies from virus

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FRESNO, Calif. -- A popular lodging area in Yosemite National Park could be linked to a rodent-borne disease that has killed a California tourist who stayed there this summer.

A man who stayed at Curry Village in June died after contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. A woman who also stayed in a canvas tent cabin about 100 feet from him on overlapping days has become seriously ill, officials said.

The virus was found in the feces of deer mice in the family-friendly lodging area of cabins, according to tests by the Centers for Disease Control and state health officials.

"There's no way to tell for sure, but state health officials feel they may have contracted it here in Curry Village," park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

The man, who was from the San Francisco Bay area, would be the first person to die from the disease contracted in the park, though two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said.

Hantavirus develops from breathing in dust contaminated with rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and coughing.

State spokesman Ralph Montano said officials advised anyone with those symptoms to seek medical attention and let doctors know if they were camping in Yosemite. He said it would be impossible to track everyone who had set foot in Curry Village. No other cases have been reported, but symptoms can show up one to six weeks after exposure.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2012 A27

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