On Tuesday and Wednesday, public health officials plan to interview and collect blood samples from as many as 2,500 Yosemite National Park workers to learn more about the recent hantavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.
The epidemiological study is part of a larger scientific effort that will include a whole-genome sequencing of the hantavirus strain that struck Yosemite.
People can inhale hantavirus when the droppings of infected mice mix with dust and become airborne. Humans have not been known to transmit the virus.
Hantavirus kills more than one-third of people who become infected.
About the Outbreak
Over the summer, CDC issued a global alert about the virus, saying that visitors to Yosemite's Curry Village tent cabins between June and August were at risk of becoming infected.
There were nine confirmed cases of the virus last summer, the largest outbreak of the virus in the U.S. since 18 cases were reported in 1993.
Details of Screening
Public health officials plan to examine Yosemite employees' exposure to the virus by administering voluntary blood tests and a 50-question survey about workers' living conditions, their contact with rodents and their hantavirus-prevention training.
Officials are seeking to determine why only park visitors -- and no employees -- contracted the disease (Cohen, Reuters, 10/15).