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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

What is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome? 

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare and severe disease that results from infection with hantaviruses. These viruses are spread by infected rodents, and human-to-human transmission is extremely rare. 

What are the symptoms of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

HPS can be very severe, even fatal. When it comes to incubation time, medical professionals are unsure as to the exact length due to the rarity of the condition. They estimate that it may be anywhere from one to eight weeks after exposure. Regardless of this, the early symptoms appear as fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, dizziness, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. As time passes, symptoms may evolve into coughing and shortness of breath, and the lungs will fill with fluid. Treatment is necessary, as HPS has a mortality rate of 38%. 

What causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

HPS results from an infection with a hantavirus. This virus is spread to humans through contact with infected rodents’ saliva, droppings, or urine. Droplets from these things can contaminate the air and further spread the virus as well. A bite from an infected rodent can also transmit the virus, although this instance is much rarer. Even rarer still are transmissions from human to human. 

How is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome diagnosed?

Early diagnosis of HPS can be difficult due to the similarity of its symptoms to other conditions, such as the flu. Because of this, diagnosis typically comes once shortness of breath and coughing have developed as symptoms. Doctors will look for the characteristic effects and ask about rodent exposure to make a diagnosis. 

What are the treatments for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

There is no vaccine, treatment, or cure specific to HPS. The best option to produce good patient outcomes is to diagnose and begin treatment in the intensive care unit as soon as possible. Intubation and oxygen therapy will be administered.

Where can I find out more about hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?


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