March 28, 2020

Yosemite National Park Stomach Illness Outbreak Sickens Visitors

Federal health officials say a Yosemite National Park stomach illness outbreak has sickened at least a dozen people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. An investigation has been launched after the reports of illness began, and inspections are being conducted at the service facilities.

Yosemite National Park Stomach Illness Outbreak

The illness or origin of the outbreak have not been identified. Those sickened are recovering or have already recovered. There is no information about this outbreak on Yosemite’s web site.

The concession provider is Aramark. They operate Yosemite’s hotels, snack shops, and restaurants. Officials say they are cleaning and disinfecting their venues in the Park, which include the Ahwahnee Hotel. According to NBC News, complaints about Aramark’s service have been “numerous,” ranging from for food quality to their shuttle service. No dining services have been closed.

Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement, “The park is reminding all employees and visitors to wash their hands frequently and stay home if they experience any symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness.”

If people are recovering and have recovered in this Yosemite National Park stomach illness outbreak, odds are that if a pathogen sickened these people, it was probably Clostridium perfringens or norovirus. Those pathogens sicken people quickly, have similar symptoms, and cause relatively mild illnesses. And Clostridium perfringens outbreaks typically occur at restaurants or other venues that feed quantities of people.

In 2013, a deadly hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite sickened 10 people and killed three visitors to Curry Village. A lawsuit was filed against the park, stating that National Park Service employee did not place rodent traps or adequately evaluate the park’s tent cabins. Last year, a judge let parts of the lawsuit go forward.

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