Rodents That Carry Hantavirus
British Columbia Specific Information
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.
- Black Creek Canal virus is carried by the cotton rat and is found mostly in Florida.
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.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of: May 22, 2015
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