Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

After hantavirus deaths, NPS should review tent cabin changes, report says

Federal investigators have recommended a National Park Service review of any design changes in tent cabins after three deaths last year during a hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park.

Several hantavirus cases were diagnosed after people spent the night at Curry Village in newer tent cabins with a double-wall construction. Investigation showed infected mice nested between the walls.

The tent cabins were shut down last year after the outbreak was discovered.

There have been reports that the tent cabins were torn down and replaced with the old, single-wall version. But Yosemite officials were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General investigated last summer’s outbreak and last week reported that park officials responded appropriately in accordance with policy.

At least eight of the nine tourists who fell ill stayed in the newer tent cabins, which are operated by the private concessionaire, Delaware North Parks and Resorts.

The concessionaire had added rafters and wall studs to the tent cabins. Park Service policy did not require park leaders to approve the design changes because they were considered routine maintenance.