HantaVirus Found in Trapped Rodents
Six rodents trapped during routine monitoring in the last week in North County and East County have tested positive for the potentially-deadly hantavirus.
Infected rodents rarely pose a danger to people if they are in the wild and there has been just one non-fatal human case in the county, in 2004. But people can inhale hantavirus by stirring up rodent droppings, then get sick and even die. 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.”
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.
Hantavirus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which begins with flu-like symptoms but can grow into severe breathing difficulties and even death.
The rodents that tested positive during the last week included: two deer mice from Campo; one deer mouse each from Carlsbad and Escondido; one harvest mouse from Oceanside and a vole from Carlsbad. Thirty-seven rodents have tested positive for hantavirus in the county this year, compared to 21 in 2010.
Source: Associated Press
General Manager - Staff Entomologist