The potentially deadly hantavirus was detected last week during a routine monitoring excursion in the north and east counties. Six rodents were found to be carrying the disease.
Among the rodents carrying the disease were two deer mice from Campo; one deer mouse each from Carlsbad and Escondido; one harvest mouse from Oceanside and a vole from Carlsbad. This year, 38 rodents have been found testing positive for hantavirus in the county. Last year, officials found compared 21 rodents carrying the disease.
Officials say that infected rodents rarely pose a danger to people if they are left in the wild. But people can inhale hantavirus by stirring up rodent droppings. There is no treatment, vaccine or cure for hantavirus infections, which are deadly in 38 percent of cases.
“People should never sweep up or vacuum rodent droppings or nesting material when they find it,” said Jack Miller, director of the County Department of Environmental Health. “Instead, they should ventilate closed areas for at least 30 minutes, and then carefully use bleach or a full-strength disinfectant before removing them.”
Hantavirus presents with flu-like symptoms, but can grow into severe breathing difficulties and even death.
The best way people can prevent the disease is to keep mice out of houses, garages and sheds by sealing holes larger than the size of a dime, County officials said.
For more information, contact the County Department of Environmental Health at (858) 694-2888 or visit sdcounty.ca.gov/deh/pests/hantavirus.html.