1,000s Flood Yosemite Hotline To Ask About Virus

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Friday, August 31, 2012

At least six rangers are staffing phones at Yosemite National Park as visitors frightened about a growing outbreak of a deadly mouse-borne virus call seeking answers.

A park spokesman said that more than 1,000 calls a day are coming into the park, many from visitors wondering whether they are in danger of contracting or being exposed to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

As the busy Labor Day weekend launches, some guests also are cancelling reservations. But spokesman Scott Gediman says others on waiting lists for hard-to-get accommodations are snapping them up.

At least six people have contracted hantavirus this summer after staying in "Signature" tent cabins in the park's historic Curry Village. Two have died from the illness that first appears as the flu but quickly can change into respiratory distress and organ failure.

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