Syracuse tenants complain of mouse infestation amid worries of hantavirus

Sarahrina Jones (L) and Loren Byrd (R)

Tenants at an apartment building in Syracuse claim their apartments are infested with mice and are worried about the threat of disease, especially in light of a nationwide alert for hantavirus and a case of bubonic plague.

After receiving an anonymous tip, CNY Central's Jim Kenyon visited the Kimpton Place apartments at 1313 Butternut Street. A number of residents there complained that mice were living throughout the building.

Loren Byrd and Sarahrina Jones told Kenyon that they caught 6 mice on sticky traps supplied by the landlord, but claim the rodents remain a problem. Byrd opened a cabinet beneath a kitchen sink which was littered with hundreds of mouse droppings. He also held up a paper bag that had apparently been chewed by mice.

Another tenant, Ricky Stephens showed Kenyon a sofa that had been taken out of an apartment because he said the mice had "taken up residence" in it. Stephens opened two plastic bags containing the remains of mice caught on traps. Stephens, Jones and Byrd say they're concerned for the health and safety of their young children.

Compounding their fears are two high profile incidents involving diseases transmitted by mice. The Centers for Disease Control has also issued a nationwide alert for hantavirus, which claimed the lives of three people who visited Yosemite National Park. Five others are recovering from the disease.

Hantavirus is a deadly airborne disease spread by rodent droppings. Officials believe tent cabins at Yosemite were infested with mice.

Another case of hantavirus has been detected in Texas.

In Colorado, a 7-year-old girl is recovering from bubonic plague which had supposedly been wiped out centuries ago.

A spokesperson for Butternut Street Properties refused to comment other than to say the company had hired an exterminator to address the problem.

Deputy Director of Codes Enforcement, Corey Driscoll says the owners had been cited last February for exposed trash inside the building.

Driscoll says if one of the tenants lodges a complaint, she will send inspectors to the building. She says her department has issued a number of citations each year for rodent infestations.