Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome; Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
Hantavirus is a life-threatning disease spread to humans by rodents that has symptoms similar to influenza.
Hantavirus is carried by rodents, especially deer mice. The virus is found in their urine and feces, but it does not make the animal sick.
It is believed that humans can get sick with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings. You may come in contact with such dust when cleaning homes, sheds, or other enclosed areas that have been empty for a long time.
Hantavirus does not spread between humans.
Rodents carrying the hantavirus have been found in many U.S. national parks. Campers and hikers may be more likely to catch the disease than most people. This is because they pitch tents on the forest floor and lay their sleeping bags down in musty cabins.
However, only a couple of cases have been directly linked to camping or hiking. Most people who are exposed to the virus have come in contact with rodent droppings in their own homes.
Bell M. Viral hemorrhagic fevers. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 404.
Peters CJ. California encephalitis, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and bunyavirid hemorrhagic fevers. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 166.
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