Yosemite visitors hit with gastrointestinal illness

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(January 18, 2020) — Yosemite National Park has received reports of approximately 170 people who have recently experienced a gastrointestinal illness. Affected individuals include park visitors and employees. Most spent time in Yosemite Valley. So far, there have been two confirmed cases of norovirus. Most of the cases occurred on and around the first week of this month and there has been a significant decline of new cases reported over the past several days.

Yosemite National Park officials and medical professionals with the National Park Service Office of Public Health (OPH) are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the illness and are continuing to conduct interviews with affected people. The overwhelming majority of the reported cases are consistent with norovirus.

Norovirus spreads very easily, including through direct contact with an infected person, touching a surface or object contaminated with norovirus, or eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus. Symptoms of norovirus usually begin 12–48 hours after exposure.

Yosemite National Park, OPH, and other public health agencies are working together, and in collaboration with park partners, to prevent additional illnesses. The Park continues to undertake extensive cleaning and enhanced sanitation protocols.

An individual can help prevent norovirus transmission through the following actions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.
  • Avoid sharing food or drinks with other people, especially when you’re sick or they’re sick.
  • If you do experience any illness, please stay hydrated and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. Please limit your interaction with other people as much as possible to prevent further spread.

If anyone has recently visited Yosemite National Park and would like to report information connected to a case of gastrointestinal illness, please email the park here.

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