ABC World News (8/28, story 9, 1:10, Sawyer) reported, "And now, [a] health scare at Yosemite National Park that four million people visit" annually. ABC News correspondent Neal Karlinsky added, "Tonight, Yosemite National Park is ground zero for deadly outbreak of hantavirus."
The Los Angeles Times (8/29, Mather) "LA Now" blog reports, "After announcing Monday that a third case of the disease had been confirmed -- resulting in the death of a Pennsylvania man -- and a fourth probable, Yosemite officials emailed about 1,700 people who stayed in the park's popular Curry Village, asking them to seek immediate medical attention if they showed the flu-like symptoms of the disease."
USA Today (8/28, Lloyd) reports, "All four people stayed in 'signature tent cabins' in Curry Village in the eastern side of the popular California park. Visitors are being given a brochure about the virus and how to protect themselves."
The Wall Street Journal (8/29, Vara, Subscription Publication) reports that hantavirus, a rare illness mostly found in the US rural West, cannot be spread from person to person. Instead, the disease is spread through the droppings, saliva, or urine of rodents. It causes influenza-like symptoms, breathing difficulties, and can be fatal about a third of the time.
The New York Times (8/29, A16, Barnes, Subscription Publication) points out that "hantavirus is carried in about 15 percent of deer mice, which have solid-colored backs and white bellies." Symptoms of the virus, "which can start from one to six weeks after exposure, include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting or cough. The park, which said it is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the disease can progress to severe difficulty breathing within two to seven days, in which case people should seek immediate medical help."
The AP (8/29, Cone) reports, "Park spokesman Scott Gediman said the Delaware North Co., which runs the park's lodging facilities, is working to shore up cabins to protect park-goers." Gediman stated, "This is a wilderness setting. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the cabins." The AP adds, "This year's deaths mark the first such fatalities in park visitors, although two others were stricken in a more remote area in 2000 and 2010, officials said."
The San Francisco Chronicle (8/29, Allday) reports, "Public health officials aren't expecting to find more cases of hantavirus, but since it's a rare disease that can be difficult to diagnose, it's possible other victims may still be found, Gediman said. The two newest cases were reported to California public health officials only last weekend, although both victims had been symptomatic for weeks."
A separate but related story in the San Francisco Chronicle (8/29, Fimrite) reports, "Officials with the US Public Health Service and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were inspecting the 91 cabins in the area where the infections occurred. The inspectors said they were looking for gaps in the wood, plaster or flooring where mice can get inside."
According to the San Jose Mercury News (8/29, Kleffman), "The park did not want to needlessly scare people, a park spokeswoman said. Until the recent cases, 'There was no reason to believe that (the risk) was higher here than anywhere else in the Sierra Nevada or New York City, for that matter,' park ranger Jana McCabe said Tuesday. 'Any time you have contact with rodents, there is a potential,'" McCabe added.