Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Virus Squeaks Positive


Last updated 8/22/2019 at 1:51pm

A deer mouse found during a routine monitoring operation in Warner Springs on July 25 tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus, according to San Diego County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control officials, bringing the total to 30 wild rodents, mostly mice, testing positive in the county since the beginning of the year.

Borrego Springs and Julian remain clear so far, but three deer mice and one brush mouse did test positive for the virus in Santa Ysabel.

Although the hantavirus is not uncommon in the rural and undeveloped areas of the county, people are not likely to be exposed to it so long as they keep wild rodents out of their living spaces and structures like their homes, garages, sheds, and cabins. Wild rodents, wild mice specifically, are the leading carriers of the virus.

Officials remind everyone the hantavirus is an airborne virus, is not passed from one person to another, nor caught by touching an infected rodent. To keep from kicking the contaminates up into the air avoid sweeping up or vacuuming after rodents, and instead apply “wet-cleaning” methods, like using diluted bleach spray, disinfectants or a sponge and mop to clean up rodent urine, feces and saliva. Cleaned areas need to be well-ventilated to ensure the virus doesn’t linger.

The rare but deadly human hantavirus pulmonarysyndrome carries a 30 – 40% mortality rate, and there is no cure or vaccine for it. Symptoms of the infection can include fever, aches in the large muscle groups, dizziness, digestive issues, and abdominal pains, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information concerning the hantavirus in San Diego County, residents can contact the Department of Environmental Health at 858-694-2888 or visit the web at