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Yosemite, Hornaday, Hantavirus, Scouts

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Good news and bad news

Hornaday:

A couple of scouts from El Dorado Hills Boy Scout Troop 465 organized a conservation effort to remove invasive plants from Yosemite. Both scouts are working on the challenging Hornaday award.

http://www.villagelife.com/news/scouts-weed-yosemite-valley/

 

Hantavirus:

Those Yosemite visitors who stayed in the park tent cabins are believed to most at risk. Two have died.

 

"Park officials said the double-walled design of the cabins that were closed Tuesday made it easy for mice to nest between the walls. The disease is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents.

 

The illness begins as flu-like symptoms, including including headache, fever, muscle ache, shortness of breath and cough. Initial symptoms may appear up to six weeks after exposure and can lead to severe breathing difficulties and death.

 

The new cabins have canvas exteriors and drywall or plywood inside, with insulation in between. Park officials found this week when they tried to shore up some of the cabins that mice had built nests in the walls."

 

For more on hantavirus outbreak in Yosemite

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/31/13591500-cdc-10000-at-risk-of-hantavirus-in-yosemite-outbreak?lite

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Removing invasive species is all it takes to earn the horniday award?????

 

"Boy Scouts with El Dorado Hills Troop 465 spent a day pulling invasive weeds on the Yosemite Valley floor. Courtesy photo"

 

A whole day????????

 

I must investigate further....My guys do that a couple of weekends every spring. I am going to say my son has a couple of hundred hour of invasive species removal since joining scouting.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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There are a bunch of different Hornaday Awards with different requirements. See http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/HornadayAwards1/awards.aspx for details.

Scouts could have earned the 'unit award' by completing one substantial project, and we don't know how substantial their project was.

 

This may be an example of reply posts that turn people off from contributing to this forum for fear of being ridiculed or bombarded with sarcasm.

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The OP didn't say anything about earning the award in one day. He said they were working on it. Huge difference. I agree with MN. The reply to the assumption is over the top. This could be one of many projects. The poster and the article didn't say supply details.

BDPT00

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I was awarded the Hornaday Gold Badge for adults this May. I was greatly honored. It's actually a Council level award and not that difficult to earn. I was awarded it for my service ar ArrowCorps5 and serving as incident commander for FourCorps2010 which Southern Region Section 4 of the OA hosted in 2010.

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Hantavirus has been reported in numerous U.S. states, but is cases are significantly more prevalent in the southwest. Please be cautious about activities with scouts in areas where rodent droppings may be present. Additional info is available at CDC's website at:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/

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This virus has been around a long long time. It has gained national notice because of the situation at Yosemite. The best prevention for scouts when camping in an area where the virus is either confirmed or suspected is a clean camp site, particularly with regardsd to food preparation and waste disposal. One cannot exterminate all the rodents, but there is no point in creating an attractive nuisance for them.

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I have pasted in another article from the LA Times that is quite informative about this threat. The article actually mentions an outbreak in 1993 that occurred on, if memory serves me correctly, the Navajo indian reservation. We were living in Southern California at the time and that was when we first learned of hanta virus. Apparently it is everywhere and the primary cause of transmission identified at that time was dust being kicked up around the areas where the Navajo lived. That could also happen at a camp site.

 

So those who live in the Southwest or are considering camping in areas where this disease is present should keep in mind to avoid kicking up unnecessary dust and following basic camp sanitation. Everyone should be fine. Article follows:

_________________________

 

 

By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times

 

September 12, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

 

The population of mice that carry hantavirus may have swelled in Yosemite National Park, a possible lead in the ongoing investigation into an outbreak of infections that has killed three people since mid-June.

 

Recent trapping related to the investigation indicates that the park's deer mouse population is larger this year, said Dr. Vicki Kramer, head of the California Department of Public Health's vector-borne disease section. Deer mice are the primary carriers of hantavirus in the U.S.

 

Agency officials have twice laid peanut butter-laced traps for the rodents at the park, Kramer said. The first traps, set out between Aug. 21 and Aug. 23, were centered on Curry Village, where seven of the eight hantavirus cases have been traced to tent cabins.

 

About 50% of the Curry Village traps caught mice, and 13.7% of the rodents tested positive for antibodies of sin nombre virus, indicating that they either have, or have had, hantavirus. The statewide average is about 14%, Kramer said.

 

Trapping resumed last week, after additional cases of hantavirus were linked to Yosemite including one traced to the High Sierra Loop that links Yosemite Valley with Tuolumne Meadows and other areas. Traps were also laid in Tuolumne Meadows, where about 45% were successful, Kramer said.

 

That could indicate a larger mouse population, she said. In 2007, only 17% of traps in the area caught mice; in 2008, 25%. Antibody results for the second set of traps were not yet available.

 

Some experts have wondered if a population boom of deer mice contributed to the Yosemite outbreak. Scientists have attributed the 1993 outbreak in the Four Corners region of the Southwest to an abundant deer mouse population that year.

 

"That could be a contributing factor," Kramer said of the Yosemite cases. "This seems to be supporting that hypothesis."

 

Officials have called the Yosemite outbreak unprecedented more than one hantavirus infection from the same location in the same year is rare. The disease is typically transmitted to humans as they inhale dust or dirt containing the droppings or urine of infected mice.

 

The mice collected from Yosemite were euthanized and stored in freezers in case experts need their blood or tissue for additional research, said Kramer, who added that fewer than 100 mice had been trapped.

 

"Our objective is not rodent reduction but risk assessment, by trying to get a general idea of mice abundance," Kramer said.

 

It could take months to complete the investigation into the Yosemite outbreak, which is being conducted by state and federal agencies, said Danielle Buttke, a veterinary epidemiologist with the National Park Service.

 

Officials are looking at other factors, among them the density of development in Curry Village, she said. The popular campground offers more food for mice, as well as protection natural predators are more likely to be scared off by such a large human presence.

 

 

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