Deadly Outbreak of the Hantavirus in Yosemite National Park during the Obama Administration

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 1st, 2012

Week in Review

The Democrats’ constant refrain is that the Republicans want dirtier air, dirtier water, food that is less safe, sicker children, etc.  Over and over they bleat how the Republicans don’t care about anything other than rich people and big corporations.  Yet during President Obama’s administration something really nasty has broken out in one of our National Parks.  Something that could have been prevented.  If the president was serious about not exposing men, women and children to the deadly Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (see Up to 10,000 Yosemite visitors at risk of virus by TRACIE CONE posted 8/31/2012 on the Associated Press).

Up to 10,000 people who were guests in certain lodging cabins at Yosemite National Park might have been exposed to a deadly mouse-borne virus, park officials confirmed Friday as rangers handled a slew of calls from frightened visitors.

The cabins hold up to four people, and park spokesman Scott Gediman said Friday that means up to 7,000 more visitors might have been exposed to the virus that so far has killed two people and sickened four others…

All of the victims confirmed so far stayed in the high-end, insulated “Signature” tent cabins in the park’s historic Curry Village section between mid-June and early July.

Park officials worked quickly to disinfect all 400 of the Curry Village cabins when the outbreak first was detected earlier this month. When the outbreak was narrowed to the 91 double-walled insulated cabins, the California Department of Public Health ordered them shut down Tuesday.

Park officials said the double-walled design of those particular cabins made it easy for mice to nest between the walls. The disease is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents and carried on airborne aerosol particles and dust…

A National Park is typically outdoors.  And there is often wildlife outdoors.  Some of it is cute and cuddly-looking.  A lot of it, though, can be a health hazard.  Like a mouse that carries a virus that can kill people.  So if you’re building lodgings for people to live in an area full of wildlife that can kill people, and that will be warm and have food inside of them, you’d think they’d make sure those lodgings are not especially inviting to mice that can carry the Hantavirus.  I mean, if anyone should know it should be our experts in Washington in charge of these National Parks.  Or their agents in the parks.  Unless they’re for dirtier air, dirtier water, food that is less safe, sicker children and the Hantavirus.

But can we blame this on the Obama administration?  Was it just one of those out-of-the-blue, fluke things?

The hantavirus outbreak occurred despite park officials’ efforts to step up protections.

A 2010 report from the state health department warned park officials that rodent inspection efforts should be increased after a visitor to the Tuolumne Meadows area of the park fell ill.

The report revealed 18 percent of mice trapped for testing at various locations around the park were positive for hantavirus.

“Inspections for rodent infestations and appropriate exclusion efforts, particularly for buildings where people sleep, should be enhanced,” it said.

The park’s new hantavirus policy, enacted April 25, was designed to provide a safe place, “free from recognized hazards that may cause serious physical harm or death.”

No.  It wasn’t one of those out-of-the-blue, fluke things.  They’ve know about it for two years.  In fact the problem was so serious that they enacted a new Hantavirus policy about a year after a state health department report said there is a serious risk of the Hantavirus.  Especially where people sleep.  You got to hand it to the government in identifying a deadly health risk.  Pity it took the government a year to do anything about it.  And when they did their efforts were half-assed and ineffectual.  McDonald’s does a better job keeping their restaurants clean.  That’s right, one of those evil corporations does a better job in keeping their patrons safe than our federal government does.  And according to President Obama and the Democrats McDonald’s is just another evil corporation that votes Republican because they, too, want dirtier air, dirtier water, food that is less safe, sicker children, etc.  And they probably want the Hantavirus as well.  Even though the current scorecard shows the government ahead on that one.

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