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Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare, but frequently fatal, illness caused by a virus shed most commonly by deer mice.

The risk of exposure to hantavirus occurs anywhere that mice are present.  Persons may become infected in and around their home, at their work place, or while visiting a recreation area.  Your highest risk of contracting hantavirus comes from exposure to rodent droppings or secretions.  Most cases have been acquired in rural and semi-rural settings where deer mice commonly invade human dwellings.  Activities that increase risk of exposure include:

  • Occupying or cleaning rodent-infested barns, sheds, cabins or other buildings.
  • Having direct contact with rodents or rodent materials while hiking or camping.
  • Living in or visiting areas where there has been an increase in the rodent population.
  • Working in enclosed spaces infested with rodents.

More Useful Information and Links on Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrom:

Handout with information on how to prevent Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrom--who is at risk, animals that carry HPS, how it is transmitted, the disease symptoms, and how to prevent HPS. 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention site--All About Hantaviruses:  www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/

California Department of Public Health's website regarding HPS:

California Department of Public Health's website--Epidemiologic Summary of HPS in California 2001-2008:


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