Hantavirus makes an unwelcome return
Talk about a camper’s worst nightmare.
Two campers at Yosemite National park have died and two others have become ill with the rare hantavirus, a pulmonary disease contracted from the droppings and fluids of rodents, primarily deer mice.
All four who contracted the virus stayed in signature tent cabins – essentially plywood frames covered by canvas but with insulation, heat and other amenities – in June.
Hantavirus first received widespread attention in 1993, after it killed 26 people in the Southwest. Since then, few Americans have heard much about the virus.
Jana McCabe, a Yosemite park ranger, said the outbreak is unprecedented.
We’ve reviewed the cases; we’ve reviewed the cleaning methods, she told the Los Angeles Times. It makes you start wondering, what has changed? What is going on in the environment? That’s really the question.
Drivers, walkers both more often distracted
One of the latest and greatest dangers for teens right now is distracted walking. The number of injuries to 16- to 19-year-olds while walking is up significantly, but the carnage declines for most other age groups.
A study from Kids Worldwide, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., found a 25 percent increase in the number of teens injured in pedestrian accidents from 2006 to 2010 when compared to the previous five-year period. The safety group links the increase in injuries to the increased use of handheld electronic devices while walking.
A recent report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project supports the theory. The Pew study found cellphone ownership among teens increased drastically in the second half of the last decade. The study also found teens send an average of 110 texts daily.
The problems is there are more distracted drivers sending texts or talking on their cellphones instead of paying attention to pedestrians, and more pedestrians who walk in front of cars because they are too busy picking out the next song on their MP3 player.
One bright spot from the study: Pedestrian injury and death rates for children overall are declining.