Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Alternate Names : Hantavirus Infection
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Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a very severe lung infection caused by hantaviruses.
What is going on in the body?
Hantaviruses have been found in both North and South America. Most hantavirus infections in the United States occur in the Southwest. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is caused by a specific type of hantavirus. This type is not found outside of the Americas.
Hantaviruses are spread to humans by contact with rodents and their droppings. The most common hantavirus in the U.S. is the Sin Nombre virus. It is found in deer mice and other rodents.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is caused by an infection with hantaviruses. Hantaviruses are found in the urine, saliva, and droppings of infected rodents. When materials containing these body products are stirred up, the virus gets into the air. A person who breathes this air can get a hantavirus infection.
Air infected with hantavirus from rodent droppings can be found in the following places:
in cabins and outbuildings that have been closed up for the winter
in campgrounds in rodent-infested areas
in crawl spaces and vacant buildings infested with rodents
in homes that are infested with rodents