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Third Yosemite visitor dies of hantavirus

A camping area at Yosemite National Park is shown in this undated file photo.

September 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A third Yosemite visitor has died from the outbreak of hantavirus, a rodent-borne illness, health officials announced on Thursday.

Health officials say the victim was a West Virginia resident who had visited the park since June, but did not release a name or further details.

The virus has now killed three people and sickened five others.

Last week, Yosemite National Park officials said up to 10,000 people who stayed in the "signature tent cabins" in Curry Village might have been exposed to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

Now, Yosemite officials say they are warning people who stayed in the park's High Sierra camps after a Northern California man backpacking in that area contracted the virus. His case was described as very mild, according to Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.

Hantavirus can be carried in the urine, saliva and feces of infected deer mice. Humans typically contract the disease by breathing in the rodent feces or urine. There is no cure.

Yosemite National Park has set up a non-emergency phone line for all questions and concerns related to hantavirus in Yosemite at (209) 372-0822. It will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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