In Alameda County, wild rodents such as deer mice, woodrats, squirrels and meadow voles are commonly found in rural and semi-rural areas. Many of these animals serve as the reservoir hosts of plague, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), tularemia, Lyme disease and other zoonotic diseases. Our District monitors the rodent populations and conducts disease surveillance regularly. Following is a brief description of some of the rodent-borne diseases we monitor at ACVCSD:
Bubonic plague In Alameda County, the ground squirrel and its fleas pose the greatest potential source for plague. In collaboration with the Department of Public Health (CDPH), the District conducts plague surveillance. Blood samples of ground squirrels and wildlife were collected and submitted for plague testing. No positive animals were identified in the County for over three decades.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Deer mice, the reservoir animals of Sin Nombre virus that causes human Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), are abundant and widely distributed in Alameda County, especially in rural communities. In collaboration with CDPH, our District conducts hantavirus surveys in the East Bay Regional Parks each year. Positive antibodies of Sin Nombre virus have been detected from deer mice at various localities.
Any person exposed to rodent urine, droppings or nesting material when cleaning an abandoned outhouse, dilapidated barn and horse stable, cabin, or storage shed should take precautions and follow the following CDC Rodent Clean Up recommendations.