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On October 29th, San Diego County’s Environmental Health Department confirmed that a new case of hantavirus was found in a rodent at Mission Trails Regional Park, making it the fourth such case found this year. A press release from the department said anywhere from two to eight cases are found in a given year.

The disease is potentially fatal for humans and is transmittable by inhaling dried-up fecal, urine, and saliva toxins from field mice and deer mice.

The illness brought on by the virus is called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.

In response to the newly confirmed case, the health department’s press release includes detailed instructions on how to properly clean up mice and rat droppings if any are found in or near a residence or business.

Citizens are urged not to vacuum or sweep fecal matter. The press release lists steps one should take if droppings are found:

— Ventilate affected area by opening doors and windows for at least 30 minutes.

— Use rubber gloves. Spray a 10 percent bleach solution (2 tablespoons bleach to 1 cup of water) onto dead rodents, rodent droppings, nests, contaminated traps and surrounding areas, and let the disinfectant stand for at least 15 minutes before cleaning. Clean with a sponge or a mop.

— Place disinfected waste into two plastic bags, seal them and discard in the trash.

— Wash gloves in the bleach solution, then soap and water, and dispose of them using the same double-bag method. Thoroughly wash your bare hands with soap and water.

For more on the virus and the long list of methods to prevent exposure, visit the San Diego County Environmental Health Department’s website at sdvector.com.

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