Grand Canyon close cave due to hantavirus

Posted at 5:21 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 09:06:34-04

The Grand Canyon is temporarily closing a popular cave because of concerns about the hantavirus.

Park officials announced Wednesday that the Cave of the Domes will be sealed off until further notice.

They say rodent activity has created a risk of people contracting the virus.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare but serious disease that can spread through contact with the urine, saliva, blood or droppings of infected rodents.

Infection occurs when someone breathes in virus particles.

According to the National Park Service, there have been five cases in Coconino County since 2006.

Health officials say people camping or doing other outside activities should not sleep near rodent nests or burrows.

The Cave of the Domes is the only cave inside the park open to the public without a permit.