Second Victim of Hantavirus

Another person has died from the rodent-borne disease after visiting Yosemite National Park.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.

Aug 28, 2012

Hantavirus, a rare but potentially fatal disease caused by exposure to urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents, has now claimed the lives of two visitors to a popular location within Yosemite National Park in California, The Huffington Post reported, and a total of four are suspected to have contracted the infection.

Only 587 cases of hantavirus infection have been documented in the United States since the virus’s discovery in 1993. There is no treatment for the infection, and about one-third of cases prove fatal.

Park officials say that exposure likely came from Curry Village, an area of rustic cabins where visitors can stay, and are warning people to be alert for any symptoms of hantavirus, including fever, aches, dizziness and chills, which can develop as long as 5 weeks after exposure. The park is also making an effort to contact all visitors who stayed in one of Curry Village’s...

"They're doing everything they can to eliminate areas where mice can get into the cabins," Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told the San Francisco Chronicle. "This was never because the cabins were dirty, it was never because we didn't take care of them. This is just because approximately 20 percent of all deer mice are infected with hantavirus. And they're here in Yosemite Valley."

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?