Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a rare, but frequently fatal disease of the lungs. The virus is spread by rodents, primarily deer mice, due to breathing in dust contaminated with rodent droppings, urine, or saliva. Hantavirus is not spread from human to human. When you are in areas or places that harbor mice, you can take the following steps to prevent a Hantavirus infection:
Early medical attention can greatly increase the chance that a patient infected with Hantavirus will survive. If you present symptoms of Hantavirus infection contact your healthcare provider immediately. Symptoms may develop between one and five weeks after exposure.
Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups-thighs, hips, back and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms.
Late symptoms: Four to 10 days after the initial phase of illness, the late symptoms of HPS appear. These include coughing and shortness of breath, with the sensation of, as one survivor put it, a "…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face" as the lungs fill with fluid.
For additional information on preventing Hantavirus, visit:
Last updated: September 14, 2012