Recently, five deer mice and one brush mouse collected in the Mount Laguna area have tested positive for hantavirus. Hantavirus can cause deadly infections in people and there is no vaccine or cure. Hantavirus is only one of several serious health risks posed by mice and rats.

Here’s how to protect you and your family:

Understand the Risk

People are exposed to viruses when rodents shed it in their urine, feces, and saliva. The matter dries and is stirred into the air where people can breathe it in. Rodents deposit bacteria from their fur and feet to on surfaces such as countertops, eating utensils, and the lids and packaging of food items. Plague, salmonella, rat bite fever, tapeworms, ringworm, typhoid fever, and typhus are spread by rodents and have occurred in Southern California. Hantavirus is only spread by wild mice.

Rodent Awareness

Camping, hiking, or at home, be aware of the signs of rodents to avoid direct contact with rodents and the pathogens they leave behind. The two most common signs that are easily identified are droppings and gnawing.

  • Mouse droppings (feces) are 1/4 inch long or less. They are about the size and shape of short-grained black rice.
  • Rat droppings are between 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and may have blunt or pointed ends.

Remember, viruses and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye. Assume that any area with signs of rodents is contaminated. Avoid the area or use the Wet Cleaning Method…even when you are camping!

To learn about the Wet Cleaning Method, view or download our Pest Bulletin.