Attention! Fatal hantavirus detected in mouse located in San Diego County

People can be exposed to this virus when rodents invade their yards or homes

San Diego County announced this Friday that a mouse found in Mission Trails tested positive for hantavirus. The Western Harvest mouse was found on January 5, 2024.

This is the first case reported in 2024 and, though it is not strange to find hantavirus in the mice of San Diego County, people are rarely exposed to this disease as wild rodents tend to live far away from humans, authorities say.

However, it is important to be alert, as infected rodents can spread this virus through urine, feces, and saliva, which is why preventive measures are important as hantavirus can cause fatal infections in people and there is no vaccine or cure for this disease.

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Recommendations from authorities

The San Diego County’s Vector Control Program warned citizens that, in case they found rodents' feces in their homes, it is important to never sweep them or vacuum them. Instead, they should use the "wet cleaning method" in order to avoid breathing the virus.

To prevent exposure, residents must seal all external holes so that rodents don't get inside and not get rid of dust or materials that could be contaminated with rodents' excrements and urine.

People diagnosed with hantavirus

Hantavirus symptoms usually develop between one and eight weeks after exposure and they include intense muscular pain, chills, fever, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, stomachache, and difficulty breathing.

Any person who has been exposed to hantavirus must get medical care immediately, as there is no hantavirus cure or vaccine. Medical care can help to alleviate symptoms.

However, around 35%-40% of people who are exposed to this virus die.

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