Yosemite Hantavirus Outbreak: Cathy Carrillo Sues Park After Contracting Deadly Rodent Virus; What Were Her Symptoms?

By Philip Ross on May 7, 2013 5:35 PM EDT

hantavirus rodent
The hantavirus belongs to a group of viruses carried by rodents and is passed on to humans through their urine and droppings. (Photo: Flickr/Wolfgang Lonien)

In June of last year, Cathy Carrillo along with her husband and son stayed at Yosemite's Curry Village, a cluster of tents nestled in the shadow Glacier Point and Half Dome in California's Yosemite National Park.

Three weeks later, Carrillo came down with flu-like symptoms and was hospitalized for weeks in critical condition.

"The doctors at the hospital said I was a miracle because they didn't know if I was going to pull through," she told ABC News.

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It turned out that Carrillo, who is from Chino Hills in Southern California, was one of the 10 people to contract the hantavirus during an outbreak in Yosemite National Park last summer; three of them were killed by the deadly rodent virus.

Daily Mail reports that one year after she contracted the hantavirus, Carrillo is still unable to breath properly and has problems communicating.

Carrillo has now filed a lawsuit against the park for the pain she's suffered over the past year. The lawsuit lists damages exceeding $3 million.

From ABC Local:

The lawsuit against Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite claims the defendants acted in a conscious and reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others. It's believed campers became infected with the Hantavirus by coming into contact with droppings, urine or saliva of deer mice inside the cabins.

"The fact they knew about it, really didn't warn about it. The Carrillos went up there, been up there, never knew this problem existed. It was really kept on the down low," Mark Algorri, Carrillo's attorney, told ABC.

Daily Mail reports that the scheduling conference for the lawsuit is scheduled for July 23 in Fresno's U.S. district court.

Hantaviruses are a group of viruses carried by rodents. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the hantavirus can be spread to humans through contact with the urine, droppings or nesting material of the deer mouse, the white-footed mouse, the rice rat and the cotton rat. While infection is rare, cases have occurred in all regions of the U.S. except for Alaska and Hawaii.

People who contract the hantavirus usually show symptoms of the disease one to five weeks after exposure. Initial symptoms of the hantavirus in humans include fever, severe muscle aches and fatigue. "After a few days they will have a hard time breathing. Sometimes people will have headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain," CDC reports.

Read more from iScience Times:

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