Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare but deadly viral infection. Mice and rats spread it. They shed the virus in their urine, droppings, and saliva. Tiny droplets with the virus can enter the air. People can get the disease if they breathe infected air or come into contact with rodents or their urine or droppings. You cannot catch it from people.
Early symptoms of Hantavirus are :
- Muscle aches, especially in the thighs, hips, and back
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain
Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
Controlling rodents in and around your house is the best way to prevent infection. If you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately.
There is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine for HPS. Patients may do better if it is recognized early, and they get medical care in an intensive care unit. They often need to use a breathing machine and have oxygen therapy.
It is important to take note that unlike coronavirus, Hantavirus does not spread from one person to another but rather through touching rodent urine, dripping, etc. and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
There’s evidence that a hantavirus can infect animals, dogs, and cats. However, they do not get sick or have any symptoms. Dogs and cats are most likely exposed to the virus when preying on infected deer mice. Though dogs and cats can’t spread Hantavirus directly to other animals or people, they could put people at risk by bringing infected rodents into homes or places where exposure to rodent excretions may occur.
The length of time hantaviruses can remain infectious in the environment is variable and depends on environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, whether the virus is indoors or outdoors or exposed to the sun, and even on the mouse’s diet.