BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) — Health officials are warning 1,700 Yosemite National Park visitors that they may have been exposed to hantavirus.
The health alert comes after a second person died of complications from the rodent-borne disease.
The deadly hantavirus outbreak happened at the park’s signature tent cabins in Curry Village.
Dr. Brian Johnston, the medical director of the emergency department at White Memorial Hospital, said you can get the virus simply from breathing or inhaling the contaminated urine of deer mice.
And you can die within hours.
“The pneumonic form is a very serious disease. It’s typically affected young, healthy people. It’s rapidly fatal,” he said. “The virus is characterized by high fever, cough and shortness of breath.”
Mathew Stawski just got back from Yosemite on Saturday. He spent time at Curry Village, but didn’t sleep in the tent cabins.
“I saw a couple people wearing breathing masks,” he said. “Most people probably weren’t aware of the virus. It was sort of a shock to find out about it afterwards. I feel good… I’m not too worried.”
Doctors said the virus can’t be transferred from person to person. There is also no known cure.