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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; handling infected rodent saliva, 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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last RevisedMarch 2, 2010

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