Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a potentially fatal
respiratory illness caused by a virus found in the saliva, urine, and droppings
of some rodents. People can become infected with the virus by breathing
contaminated dust, touching an infected rodent or rodent urine or droppings, or
being bitten by an infected rodent.
Fever, fatigue, and muscle aches develop about 2 to 3 weeks after
being exposed to the virus. A few days later, coughing and shortness of breath
become severe as fluid builds up in the lungs (pulmonary edema). HPS is
diagnosed with laboratory tests.
Early treatment for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is important for
survival. Treatment includes supportive care for breathing and prevention of
shock. HPS can be prevented by avoiding contact with rodents and their
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.