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June 21, 2013
Earth Watch Report - Biological Hazards
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) Recent outbreaks of norovirus and hantavirus in US national parks have officials warning visitors to take precautions against disease.
|21.06.2013||Biological Hazard||USA||State of Wyoming, [Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park]|
Biological Hazard in USA on Friday, 21 June, 2013 at 02:57 (02:57 AM) UTC.
|After 200 park employees and visitors reported bouts of gastrointestinal illness at Yellowstone National Park and nearby Grand Teton National Park this month, national park officials have warned visitors to be vigilant about hygiene. The outbreak started on June 7, when a group touring the Mammoth Hot Springs complained of stomach flu and other gastrointestinal problems. After the tour group members reported their illnesses, about other 50 visitors and 150 park employees reported similar symptoms. Preliminary reports found that they had norovirus, or “stomach flu,” which affects up to 21 million people, every year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Al Mash, spokesman for Yellowstone National Park, said campers who were worried about the outbreak should take care to properly store their food and wash their hands with soap and water before eating. “Don’t rely on hand sanitizer. It’s good for a while if you don’t have access to water,” said Mash. “But sanitizer is a poor second to washing your hands.”|
According to the CDC, the norovirus can be very contagious and is usually passed from contaminated surfaces or food. Mash said that while it might be more difficult to wash hands before and after meals on camping trips, sporting goods stores sell soap slivers or biodegradable soap that can be used on camping trips. “My manta is be aware but not afraid,” said Mash. Employees at Yellowstone and nearby Grand Teton park have been cleaning and disinfecting the areas where the illnesses were first reported. Yellowstone National Park regularly has 20,000 visitors a day. The norovirus outbreak is just the latest one to hit the national parks. Last year, Yosemite National Park experienced an outbreak of the deadly hantavirus. Infection with hantavirus, often contracted through contact with contaminated mouse feces or urine, can lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which can be fatal, according to the CDC. Kathy Kupper, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said if campers were worried about becoming sick they should be sure to check in with the park’s website or information line before they arrive. Any potential hazards from disease outbreaks from high concentrations of ticks, for example, will be listed in each national park’s newsletter or on its website.
|Biohazard name:||Norovirus Outbreak|
|Biohazard level:||2/4 Medium|
|Biohazard desc.:||Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza A, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, and HIV. “Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures. Research work (including co-cultivation, virus replication studies, or manipulations involving concentrated virus) can be done in a BSL-2 (P2) facility, using BSL-3 practices and procedures. Virus production activities, including virus concentrations, require a BSL-3 (P3) facility and use of BSL-3 practices and procedures”, see Recommended Biosafety Levels for Infectious Agents.|
Norovirus outbreaks reported in Yellowstone, Grand Teton parks
In the northern section of the mountain valley known as Jackson Hole, Wyo., Grand Teton National Park is seen in this image. / Jon Cook
JACKSON, Wyo.A norovirus outbreak that may have originated at Yellowstone National Park in Wyo. may have affected around 200 people at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
About 50 visitors have reported symptoms associated with norovirus, a highly contagious stomach flu that is easily spread by touching an infected person or contaminated surfaces. Up to 150 park employees may have been infected, though not all those cases have been confirmed.
The outbreak is believed to have started with a group of tourists who visited the Mammoth Hot Springs area in Yellowstone on June 7. They complained of stomach flu symptoms and, within 48 hours, employees who work with visitors also reported being sick.
Physician’s assistant Michael Takagi told the Jackson Hole Daily that the outbreak is one of the most significant ones he’s seen.
The National Park Service issued a June 19 statement urging visitors to northwestern Wyoming to be vigilant about washing their hands, due to “greater-than-normal reports of gastrointestinal illness” after visitors and employees visited medical clinics with symptoms of norovirus.
Read More Here
- Norovirus Warning: 200 Yellowstone, Grand Teton Parl Visitors Left Sick (natureworldnews.com)
- Norovirus outbreak expands in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, at least 200 people sickened (theglobaldispatch.com)
- Norovirus outbreak prompts caution at Yellowstone, Grand Teton (billingsgazette.com)
- Yellowstone, Grand Teton park visitors warned of spike in sicknesses (fox13now.com)
- Yellowstone, Grand Teton park visitors warned of spike in sicknesses (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Yellowstone, Grand Teton visitors warned (wyff4.com)
- Norovirus outbreak prompts caution at Yellowstone, Grand Teton (missoulian.com)
- Yellowstone norovirus hits around 200 people (ktvb.com)
- Virus Alert: 200 Sickened at Yellowstone, Grand Teton (aarp.org)
- Virus Outbreaks In National Parks: How To Avoid Disease In The Great Outdoors (medicaldaily.com)
Thanks to: http://familysurvivalprotocol.com