Four wild mice collected from routine outdoor surveillance in the Campo area tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus, the San Diego Department of Environment said Thursday.
According to the department, there were 22 rodents in San Diego County that tested positive for the hantavirus this year. The mice collected in the open space in Campo were two Californian mice, a deer mouse and a brush mouse.
Humans are unlikely to be exposed to the virus because its carriers – particularly feral rodents and feral mice – generally want to live and nest away from humans.
To avoid exposure, residents should plug all external holes larger than a dime in houses, garages and sheds to prevent rodent invasion, immediately clear rodent infestation, avoid rodent infested areas and not stir up dust or materials that may contaminate them, rodent feces and urine, and clean rodent feces using the wet cleaning method.
The method consists of:
- Ventilate the affected area by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes
- Use gloves and spray a 10% bleach solution or other disinfectant on dead rodents, rodent droppings, nests, contaminated traps, and the surrounding area, and let the disinfectant sit for at least 15 minutes before cleaning
- Cleaning with a sponge or mop soaked in disinfectant
- Place disinfected rodents and debris in two plastic bags, seal them, and throw them in the trash. Wash the gloves in a bleach solution, then soap and water, and discard using the same double-bag method
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
The virus is shed in urine, feces and saliva by wild rodents, dries and is stirred into the air and inhaled. There is no cure or vaccination for the virus.