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Yosemite Wrongful Deaths Raise Questions Of Negligence
News sources report that more than 10,000 Yosemite visitors may have been exposed to hantavirus - the deadly mouse virus that has already claimed the lives of two people and sickened six others. The source of the contamination appears to have started in the insulated "Signature" cabins. These cabins sleep up to four people, and were booked solid from June through July. People who visited Yosemite during this time are encouraged to call Yosemite's hantavirus hotline.
The hantavirus starts out with flu-like symptoms that can take six weeks to incubate. After this period, people infected with the virus may face acute respiratory and organ failure. As a result anyone who believes the have the symptoms of the hantavirus should seek immediate hospitalization. Statistics provide that more than 36% of the people who contract the virus will die from it.
Although park officials worked to disinfect the Curry Village cabins where they suspect the outbreak occurred, the California Department of Public Health has now ordered them shut down. The design of the cabins in question increased the likelihood of mice nesting between the walls. The disease is carried in the saliva, urine and feces of deer mice and is spread through airborne aerosol particle and dust.
Whether park officials did enough to stop the spread of the hantavirus or if negligence exists in the park's actions or in the design of the cabins that allowed the virus to spread is unknown and will certainly be investigated in the weeks and months to come.
A negligence lawsuit may be filed when a person or entity breaches a duty of reasonable care and another person is harmed as a result. "Negligence" can arise in nearly any situation where someone is harmed as the result of another's careless or reckless actions. Where a failure to exercise reasonable care and causes foreseeable harm, the person, company or entity may be held responsible for any damages caused and be required to pay compensation. Speaking to a top Sacramento personal injury attorney right away is important if you have been harmed as the result of another's negligence.
Here, park officials were aware of the existence of the hantavirus, with 18 percent of mice at the park testing positive for the virus. In 2010 a state health department official warning park officials to increase their protections. The park enacted a hantavirus policy in April of this year to provide a safe place, "free from recognized hazards that may cause serious physical harm or death."
In 2011, half of the 24 U.S. hantavirus cases ended in death. But since 1993, when the virus first was identified, the average death rate is 36 percent, according to the CDC.