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Possibly deadly virus in 3 wild mice in East County

In the county of East, three deer mice were found with the potentially deadly hantavirus. (Photo: County of San Diego)

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Vector Control officials reminded residents on Tuesday to protect themselves against wild rodents after discovering three deer mice that carry the potentially deadly hantavirus brought.

Vector Control officials collected the mice in Boulevard during a regular surveillance exercise. Wildlife hantavirus occurrences are not uncommon in undeveloped areas of the county, but residents can avoid potentially infected rodents by keeping them away from areas such as sheds, garages, and homes.

Vector control officials also found five hantavirus-bearing mice in Bonsall, 4S Ranch and Potrero in January.

There is no cure or vaccine against hantavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of infection can be fever, muscle pain in the major muscle groups, dizziness, digestive problems and abdominal pain. However, hantavirus infection is usually unlikely, as rodents tend to avoid humans and developed spaces.

Residents are advised to use "wet cleaning procedures" such as a bleach solution spray or sponge and mop if they find rodents or nests. By sweeping or vacuuming nests and feces, the virus can be thrown into the air, increasing the risk of infection. Vector Control officials also recommend residents to double and seal rodent waste before throwing it away.

Residents can avoid hantaviruses by sealing holes larger than a dime in homes and adjacent rooms, and quickly eliminating rodent waste and infestations. Residents can call the Environmental Health District (858) 694-2888 for more information on avoiding Hantavirus infections.

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