Yosemite Park Employees May Be Offered Virus Tests

By Erik SkindrudThe Mariposa Gazette

Three people who work in Yosemite National Park have experienced flu-like symptoms that prompted them to get tested for hantavirus, health officer Dr. Charles Mosher said at Tuesday's Mariposa County Board of Supervisors meeting.

While initial tests came up positive, a set of second, more-precise tests showed the three had not been exposed to the deadly Sin Nombre strain that causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or HPS.

Yosemite employees may soon be offered free hantavirus tests that could help experts learn more about the outbreak, Park officials said on Tuesday afternoon.

Officials were still working out the details of the plan this week, NPS spokesperson Vickie Mates said.

"If the survey does go forward, we will notify our employees of this voluntary opportunity," Mates said. "The results of the proposed survey, a common epidemiological tool, may make an important contribution to our knowledge about this rare virus."

Testing would be conducted by California's Department of Public Health.

So far, nine people who visited the park have come down with the virus. Three of those have died.

Hantavirus is carried by deer mice, and people can become infected by coming into contact with the mice droppings.

Read more at The Mariposa Gazette.