Yosemite officials say 1,700 visitors risk disease

FRESNO, Calif. — Yosemite officials told 1,700 past visitors on Tuesday that they may have been exposed to a rodent-borne disease already blamed for the deaths of two people who stayed in cabins at the national park.

Four people who spent time in Signature Tent Cabins at Curry Village around the same time in June have contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, an illness spread by rodent feces, urine, and saliva.

One of the people who died was from outside California. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the death within the past few days. Two other people were infected and expected to survive.


The disease can incubate for up to six weeks before flu-like symptoms develop. It is fatal in 30 percent of all cases; there is no specific treatment.

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‘‘This is certainly an issue and we’re getting word out,’’ said park spokesman Scott Gediman. ‘‘We’re very concerned about visitors and employees, but we feel we are taking proactive steps in both cleaning the affected areas and in public education.’’ Rangers were handing out brochures about hantavirus to guests as they entered the park.

Associated Press