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Third Hantavirus Death Linked To Yosemite Outbreak

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginian is the third person to die so far from a rodent-borne illness linked to some tent cabins at Yosemite National Park that has now stricken eight people in all, health officials said Thursday.

Gupta said the victim had visited the park since June but declined to be more specific, citing the family’s wish to grieve in private.

Seven of the cases involved guests at the insulated “Signature” cabins in the park’s historic Curry Village section. The California Department of Public Health said the other case involved someone who stayed in several High Sierra Camps in a different area of Yosemite in July.

“The time has lapsed in a way that it should not be a concern,” Gupta said.

Health officials say the disease isn’t spread from person to person. There is no cure for the virus, which can affect people of any age. The disease is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents and carried on airborne particles and dust.

Yosemite’s hantavirus hotline has received thousands of calls about the outbreak.

“We want to make sure that visitors have clear information about this rare virus and understand the importance of early medical care,” Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher said Wednesday. “We continue to work closely with state and national public health officials, and we urge visitors who may have been exposed to hantavirus to seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms.”