What is hantavirus?
Hantavirus is a virus that spreads through the urine, droppings (poop), or saliva of wild rodents, including deer mice, which are common in many parts of California. Hantavirus can cause serious disease in humans.
How can a person become infected with hantavirus?
People can become infected with hantavirus when they breathe in air that is contaminated with the virus. Particles containing hantavirus get into the air when mouse urine, saliva, or droppings are stirred up. The chances of this happening increase when opening or cleaning buildings in rural areas that have been closed for the winter where deer mice have entered, or for people working, playing, or living in closed spaces where mice are present.
Symptoms of hantavirus infection can be mild or severe, depending on whether a person's lungs become infected. There is no specific treatment for hantavirus infection, but early medical care can help if serious disease develops.
How can I help prevent hantavirus infection?
Because hantavirus infection can be serious, even deadly, it is important to know how to prevent it. The best way to prevent hantavirus infection is to keep wild rodents, especially mice, out of your home, workplace, cabin, or other buildings:
- Seal up holes or other openings where mice can get in
- Place traps to catch any mice
- Store all food items in rodent-proof containers to keep mice away
Learn more: How to Seal Up to Prevent Rodent Infestations