Deer mouse of the kind found with hantavirus.
Deer mouse of the kind found with hantavirus. Photo via San Diego County News Center

Four wild mice collected in routine monitoring in open space in the Campo area have tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health announced Thursday.

There have been 22 rodents in San Diego County who have tested positive for the hantavirus this year, according to the department. The mice collected in the open space in Campo were two California mice, one deer mouse, and one brush mouse.

People are unlikely to be exposed to the virus because its carriers — wild rodents and wild mice in particular — generally want to live and nest away from people.

To avoid exposure, residents should seal up all external holes larger than a dime in homes, garages and sheds to keep rodents from getting in, eliminate rodent infestations immediately, avoid rodent-infested areas and not stir up dust or materials that may be contaminated with rodent droppings and urine and clean up rodent droppings with the wet cleaning method.

The method consists of:

— ventilating the affected area by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes;

— using gloves and spraying a 10% bleach solution or other disinfectants onto dead rodents, rodent droppings, nests, contaminated traps, and surrounding areas and let the disinfectant stand for at least 15 minutes before cleaning;

— cleaning with a sponge or a mop that has been soaked in disinfectant;

— placing disinfected rodents and debris into two plastic bags, sealing them and discarding in the trash, washing gloves in a bleach solution, then soap and water, and disposing of them using the same double-bag method; and

— thoroughly washing hands with soap and water.

The virus is shed by wild rodents in urine, feces and saliva, dries and is stirred into the air and inhaled. There is no cure or vaccine for the virus.

— City News Service