What is hantavirus?
Hantaviruses are rare viruses throughout the world that can infect rodents and humans and can cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in humans. Fortunately, the disease is very rare and there some easy measures you can take to further reduce your exposure.
Hantaviruses may be found throughout North America, however, most HPS cases occur in the western U.S. Deer mice are the most common carrier of hantavirus in the west. Infected deer mice can shed hantavirus in their droppings, urine and saliva.
The chance of being exposed to hantavirus is greatest when people enter enclosed spaces where rodents are actively living. The virus can become airborne through stirring up virus-contaminated particles, such as by sweeping.
Hantavirus infection begins with flu-like symptoms that can progress to acute respiratory distress. If you experience flu-like symptoms, and believe you may have come in contact with mice, their nests or droppings within the past six weeks, contact your healthcare provider to discuss possible exposure to hantavirus.
For more information about HPS and how to avoid exposure, visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) or Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites.