Hantavirus

What is hantavirus? 

Hantaviruses are rare viruses throughout the world that can infect rodents and humans and can cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in humans. Fortunately, the disease is very rare and there some easy measures you can take to further reduce your exposure.

Hantaviruses may be found throughout North America, however, most HPS cases occur in the western U.S. Deer mice are the most common carrier of hantavirus in the west. Infected deer mice can shed hantavirus in their droppings, urine and saliva.

The chance of being exposed to hantavirus is greatest when people enter enclosed spaces where rodents are actively living. The virus can become airborne through stirring up virus-contaminated particles, such as by sweeping.

Hantavirus infection begins with flu-like symptoms that can progress to acute respiratory distress. If you experience flu-like symptoms, and believe you may have come in contact with mice, their nests or droppings within the past six weeks, contact your healthcare provider to discuss possible exposure to hantavirus.

For more information about HPS and how to avoid exposure, visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) or Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites.

What's being done in Yosemite? 

In the summer of 2012 there were nine cases of HPS associated with a double-wall insulated type of tent cabin called “Signature Tent Cabins” at Curry Village. All 91 Signature Tent Cabins have been demolished and replaced with single-wall traditional tent cabins that have been part of Curry Village since 1899. Learn more about single and double-wall tent cabins.

We continue to clean our facilities and accommodations with practices recommended by the CDPH to prevent exposure to hantavirus. Also, we continue to monitor our buildings for rodent activity and implement a variety of techniques to exclude rodents from buildings.

What can you do? 

The park is a natural environment that contains wild animals, swift water, and other inherent risks, including hantavirus. However, there are some easy things you can do to further minimize your risk of getting hantavirus or other diseases.

  • Do not touch or come in contact with any wildlife or rodents.
  • Keep your food away from wildlife:
    o Keep food in tightly sealed containers (including those stored in bear boxes)  and store away from rodents.
    o Always properly close and latch your bear box when not in use.
    o Do not eat in or around your tent cabin (crumbs attract wildlife).
    o Dispose of all garbage in dumpsters and wildlife-proof garbage cans.
  • Keep your door closed to keep rodents and other critters out.
  • Minimize storage of luggage and other materials on floors.
  • Do not sweep your accommodation (contact the Front Desk if housekeeping services are needed).
  • Notify the Front Desk if you see evidence of mouse activity in-room.
  • Do not pitch tents or place sleeping bags in proximity to rodent feces or burrows or near possible rodent habitat (for example, dense brush or woodpiles).