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Hanta Virus : What is it?

This virus can cause a serious, often deadly, respiratory illness called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or HPS. Hantavirus is spread by wild rodents, mainly infected deer mice in the West and the cotton rat in the Southeast.

The first symptoms can be flu-like including: fatigue, a fever (101-104 F); and muscle aches, especially the large muscle groups - thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders (these symptoms are universal). There may also be headache; abdominal pain; sometimes nausea and vomiting. The primary symptom of this disease is difficulty breathing, which is caused by fluid build-up in the lungs and quickly progresses to an inability to breathe.

To prevent Hantavirus, keep mice away.

  • Remove any uncovered food sources!
  • Keep mice out of your house by plugging holes and using spring loaded mouse traps.
  • Keep mice out of your yard by covering garbage cans and removing areas of debris where they might live.
  • Be careful when handling dead rats and their nesting areas.
  • Use gloves and wash your hands carefully.

Do not hesitate to call your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

Additional Resources


Nikole Sakata, MPH
Program Manager
Email Nikole

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