Doctors may classify lung conditions as obstructive lung disease or restrictive lung disease. Obstructive lung diseases include conditions that make it hard to exhale all the air in the lungs. People with restrictive lung disease have difficulty fully expanding their lungs with air.
Obstructive and restrictive lung disease share the same main symptom: shortness of breath with exertion.
Most cases of HPS in the U.S. are
caused by one type of hantavirus found in the deer mouse. People can become
Breathing in tiny airborne particles that come from rodent
Touching rodent urine, saliva, or
Coming in contact with dust contaminated with the
Being bitten by an infected mouse.
North America has never had a known case of one person spreading the illness to another. And people do
not get HPS from farm animals, pets, or insects. But your pet may bring home an
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually start 2 to 3 weeks after
a person has been exposed to the virus. Early symptoms may include:
A fever and chills.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and belly pain.
You quickly will become very sick. Within a few days, you'll start to have more serious symptoms, such as:
A fast heartbeat and fast breathing. These are signs of fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
After a person with HPS starts having
trouble breathing, he or she may die within hours. Most deaths occur within 1 to 2 days after severe breathing problems begin. About 4 out of 10
people who get HPS do not survive.1
Your doctor will know for sure
that you have HPS only if you have the signs of HPS and if tests show that the
virus is or has been in your blood or tissues.
How is it treated?
HPS requires treatment in a hospital right away, even if the case is mild. You will get treatment
to support you through the illness, such as intravenous (IV) fluids and medicines. You may need a ventilator to help you breathe.
People who survive the
illness usually recover quickly. Most are able to leave the hospital after 7
Can HPS be prevented?
The best way to prevent
hantavirus infection is to avoid contact with rodents and their
droppings. If you live in or visit an area where the viruses have been
Set metal traps to catch rodents, and block
areas where rodents can get into your home.
Keep garbage in tightly covered containers.
Clean up rodent bedding
sites around your house. You may need to call a
professional exterminator. If you do the cleanup yourself, be
very careful and:
Air out closed buildings well before you go inside to clean them.
Wear gloves and a mask.
Clean with a wet mop and disinfectant soap (rather than sweeping or vacuuming).
When you are camping or hiking, avoid
rodent droppings, burrows, and possible rodent shelters. Use only bottled water or water that has been
Do not use a cabin or any other closed shelter that has rodents until it has been aired out, cleaned, and
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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