A man is dead and a woman was recovering likely after catching a rare disease spread by rodents at Yosemite National Park, state health officials said Thursday (Aug. 16).
The San Jose Mercury News reported that officials believe the two California residents, who weren’t identified, might have been exposed to mice droppings or urine that contained hantavirus while staying in tent cabins at Curry Village in Yosemite, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Park officials said Thursday that tests confirmed the man died from hantavirus in late July. The virus has been detected in mice at Curry Village.
Officials say the man is the first person to die from hantavirus contracted in Yosemite, though there were outbreaks in 2000 and 2010.
The most common way of catching the virus is through breathing particles from mouse urine or droppings. Since the disease was first identified in 1993, officials have recorded 60 cases in California and 587 cases in the United States.
In response to the death and illness, Yosemite officials have stepped up inspection and cleaning of rooms and cabins. They have put extra focus on keeping deer mice and other rodents from buildings.