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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

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 droppings.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
Current as of February 22, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.