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Deer mouse with potentially deadly hantavirus found in Fallbrook

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Posted at 1:34 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 16:34:37-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A deer mouse found in Fallbrook tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus, San Diego County Vector Control and environmental health officials announced today.

Vector Control officials found the mouse during a routine monitoring operation in Fallbrook. Multiple mice collected by Vector Control have tested positive in Boulevard, Bonsall, 4S Ranch and Potrero since January.

The positive test prompted county officials to remind residents to avoid sweeping or vacuuming rodent droppings, which can kick the virus up into the air. Residents were advised to use so-called ``wet cleaning'' methods like a diluted bleach spray, disinfectants or a sponge and a mop to clean up wild rodent matter like urine, feces and saliva.

Hantavirus is not uncommon in San Diego County's more rural and undeveloped areas, but residents can avoid exposure by keeping rodents out of their homes, sheds and garages, according to Vector Control. There is no cure or vaccine for hantavirus, which can cause deadly infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of infection can include fever, aches in the large muscle groups, dizziness, digestive issues and abdominal pain.

Residents can prevent exposure to hantavirus by sealing holes larger than a dime and quickly disposing of rodent debris in homes and adjacent structures. The county's Department of Environmental Health can be reached at 858-694-2888 for more information about avoiding hantavirus exposure and infection.