Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a serious lung disease caused by an infection with the Hantavirus.


Where is this disease found?

Hantaviruses that can cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome are found in North and South America. In the United States, several cases of Hantavirus disease have been recorded since 1993. Recently (in early September 2012), Hantavirus infections were reported in the Yosemite National Park.


What are the symptoms of the disease?

The symptoms are similar to flu: headache, muscle pain, shortness of breath and a cough. The disease can progress to serious breathing difficulties and death. The incubation period usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks, but can sometimes be longer than 6 weeks.


How is this disease contracted?

Hantavirus can be transmitted from animals to humans through contact with the faeces and saliva of infected rodents. No human-to-human infections have been observed.


What action should you take?

Contact should be avoided with rodents, their faeces and nests in areas where Hantavirus occurs.


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