Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a severe disease caused by the virus called hantavirus. Symptoms are similar to the flu and include fever, sore muscles, headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and shortness of breath. In Canada and the United States, the disease is very rare, but serious. In North America, about 1 out of 3 people with HPS have died. For more information about HPS, see HealthLinkBC File #36 Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).
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Hantaviruses are found in the saliva, urine, and droppings of
infected rodents, which show no signs of illness.
In the United States, at least four hantaviruses are known to cause
hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Additional hantaviruses are found in Canada. Each hantavirus
is carried by a specific rodent:
Sin Nombre virus (SNV) is carried by the deer
mouse and is found throughout North America. SNV causes the majority of HPS
cases in Canada and the U.S.
The Prospect Hill virus has been linked to some HPS cases in Canada.
New York virus is carried by the white-footed
mouse and is found mostly in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic,
southern, mid-western, and western U.S. states.
Bayou virus is carried
by the rice rat and is found mostly in Louisiana and Texas.
Creek Canal virus is carried by the cotton rat and is found mostly in
Other rodents may carry hantaviruses, but they have not been
identified. Also, other related viruses cause a spectrum of diseases
called hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). Many of the first symptoms
of HFRS resemble hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. But the later symptoms of HFRS
may include high fever, kidney failure, and bleeding disorders.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology Leslie Tengelsen, PhD, DVM -