Terrifying Email Sent to Campers Warning of Fatal Disease
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Officials at Yosemite National Park sent emails and letters to some 3,100 people who reserved any of the 91 signature tent cabins between June 10 and Aug. 24, urging them or anyone in their party to seek immediate medical attention if they start to show flu-like symptoms.
The fear is that they may have a rare, rodent-borne disease linked to the park. Six cases have been reported so far; two of those people died as a result of the disease.
Park officials have traced five of the cases to the “signature tent cabins” in Curry Village, one of the Yosemite’s most popular campgrounds, and said a design flaw allowed mice to get inside the walls of the insulated cabins.
The virus is relatively rare: Only 602 cases have been reported in the United States since 1993, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently, six cases of hantavirus were reported among people who visited Yosemite National Park in California. Two of those infected people died.
However, it’s very deadly: About half of all people who get hantavirus die of it, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Though some people do get it from camping, such as the recent Yosemite cases, many more people contract hantavirus in their own homes, according to the CDC.
The virus is spread by rodent droppings and urine. Here are some tips from the CDC and NIH for keeping hantavirus at bay:
1. Seal holes inside and outside your home to keep rodents out.
2. Trap rodents around your home.
3. While camping, sleep on ground cover and a pad.
4. When opening an unused cabin, open all doors and windows. Leave for 30 minutes, and when you return, spray disinfectant and then leave for another 30 minutes.
5. Know the signs: Early symptoms include chills, fever and muscle aches. Within one or two days, it becomes hard to breathe.
CNN’s William Hudson contributed to this report.