Rare Virus Found in Yosemite

Fatigue, fever, chills, and muscle aches, sounds like the flu right? Right. Until your lungs fill with fluid and you experience shortness of breath and possibly death. What does this have to do with national parks you ask? Well, according to ABC News a second person had died from a rare virus after camping in Yosemite National Park. The rare virus is known as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Hantavirus can be contracted by humans from rodent droppings and urine. The virus can enter the body through the mouth, nose, and can sometimes be passed through rodent bites.

The bad news is there are no specific treatments or cure, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is Hantavirus can be stopped before it becomes fatal if recognized early enough. Luckily, it cannot be spread from person to person, and it can be prevented if you take certain precautions while camping. For example, you should make sure your food is sealed tightly in its containers. Also, airing out sleeping areas may also be beneficial.

Scott Gediman, a spokes person for the park told Los Angeles Times about their efforts to get the problem under control. There has been about 3,100 letters sent out to people who have stayed in the infected areas of the park in order to warn them that they may be at risk for the virus. Public health authorities are testing deer mice in the area as part of the investigation.

Yosemite’s lodging concessionaire reported that they had lost 20 percent of the Labor Day weekend’s reservations. There has also been a slight decline in tourism in the surrounding areas.

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4 thoughts on “Rare Virus Found in Yosemite

  1. Jordan…this is an interesting idea, but can you develop this a little more? Are there links to media reports of this? What about connections to our readings? Images? What might this tell us about some of the contradictions of the national parks?

    How did this disease get into the park? I’m wondering if this says anything about our notion of the park as a space “set apart” and therefore allegedly immune from such disasters as this? Certainly the parks have been spaces conceived of as “immune” from other ills, like the contamination of society, violence, dispossession, etc. I think there’s more to say here!

  2. Andrew has some really good comments here. I agree that we tend to think of Parks as special places where otherwise banal issued (like viral infections) aren’t a problem. I think the idea of fear might be something to explore here — when people are scared in Parks I think they are usually more fearful of animals (bears and mountain lions, for instance) than anything else. Also, what images are shown with the news reports that you’ve read. I’m just curious about that as I wonder how the imagery associated with the articles affects how you think about this issue.

  3. This is so not comforting, especially since me and the outdoors don’t already get along now let’s throw in a virus shall we. Yay . . . (uh no). Oh well, at least I can see Yosemite from my computer.

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