According to San Diego County, a deer mouse collected last month during routine monitoring from a rural area near Boulevard has tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus.
Hantavirus in wild rodents is not uncommon in San Diego County, but people rarely come into contact with infected animals because wild rodents naturally avoid people.
Even though exposure to the virus is rare, people should be careful around wild rodents because there is no cure or vaccine for hantavirus.
People can be exposed to the virus when wild rodents invade their living areas— such as homes, garages and sheds. People should be particularly aware in spring because many people use the warming temperatures to clean garages, sheds and outbuildings.
Infected rodents shed the hantavirus in their urine, feces and saliva. Once the matter dries, it can be stirred into the air where people can inhale the virus.
If people find wild rodents, nests or signs of them in their living spaces, they should always use “wet cleaning” methods—using bleach or other disinfectants, rubber gloves and bags. They should NOT sweep or vacuum, which could stir hantavirus into the air where it could be inhaled.
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