Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare but deadly viral infection. It is spread by mice and rats. They shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. Tiny droplets with the virus can enter the air. People can get the disease if they breathe infected air or come into contact with rodents or their urine or droppings. You cannot catch it from people.
Early symptoms of HPS include
- Muscle aches, especially in the thighs, hips and back
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain
Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
Controlling rodents in and around your house is the best way to prevent infection. If you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately.
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for HPS. Patients may do better if it is recognized early and they get medical care in an intensive care unit. They often need to use a breathing machine and have oxygen therapy.