San Diego: Deer mouse tests positive for hantavirus


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According to San Diego County, a deer mouse collected last month during routine monitoring from a rural area near Boulevard tested positive for the deadly hantavirus.

Deer Mouse/CDC

Hantavirus in wild ferrets is not uncommon in San Diego County, but people rarely come into contact with infected animals because wild ferrets naturally avoid humans.

Although exposure to the virus is rare, people should be careful around wild ferrets because there is no cure or vaccine for hantavirus.

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People can be exposed to the virus when wild rodents invade their living areas — such as homes, garages, and sheds. People should be especially aware in the spring because many people use the warm temperatures to clean garages, sheds, and outbuildings.

Infected rodents excrete hantavirus in their urine, feces, and saliva. Once the material dries, it can be moved into the air where people can breathe in the virus.

If people find wild rodents nesting or marking them in their living quarters, they should always use “wet cleaning” methods — using bleach or other disinfectants, and rubber gloves and bags. It should not be wiped or vacuumed, which can move hantavirus into the air where it can be inhaled.

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