Hantavirus in Yosemite
Hantavirus is a rare but serious disease that humans can contract through contact with infected rodents or their urine, saliva, blood, or droppings. Since HPS was first identified in the United States in 1993, there have been 62 cases in California residents and over 600 cases nationally. Approximately 12 percent of deer mice carry hantavirus.
The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is the primary reservoir for Sin Nombre Virus, the strain of hantavirus responsible for the human cases in Yosemite National Park, and most human cases in the United States. The deer mouse is found throughout most of the United States, including Yosemite National Park.
For additional information on preventing HPS, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hantavirus website or California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website.
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Did You Know?
The indigenous people of Yosemite Valley have used fire as a tool for thousands of years. Fire was used to encourage the growth of plants used for basket making and to promote the growth of the black oak--a sun loving species--and a staple food source for American Indians from this region.