Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) facts
- What is hantavirus?
- What is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and what are hantavirus pulmonary syndrome symptoms and signs?
- What is the history of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- What causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- How is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- What are risk factors for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- What are complications of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- What is the prognosis of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- Can hantavirus pulmonary syndrome be prevented?
- Where can people get more information on hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is hantavirus?
The term hantavirus represents several groups of RNA-containing viruses that are members of the virus family of Bunyaviridae that are carried by rodents and can cause severe respiratory infections termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).
HPS is found mainly in the Americas (Canada, U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama, and others) while HFRS is found mainly in Russia, China, and Korea but may be found in Scandinavia and Western Europe and occasionally in other areas. Like HPS, HFRS results from hantaviruses that are transmitted by rodent urine, droppings, or saliva (rodent bite), by direct contact with the animals, or by aerosolized dust contaminated with rodent urine or feces to human skin breaks or to mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. The vast majority of HPS and HFRS infections are currently not transferred from person to person.
The goal of this article is to discuss HPS; however, much of what is presented about HPS applies to HFRS -- the main difference is that the predominant symptoms in the late stages of disease vary somewhat between the two diseases (lung fluid and shortness of breath in HPS and low blood pressure, fever, and kidney failure in HFRS).
What is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and what are hantavirus pulmonary syndrome symptoms and signs?
HPS is a disease caused by hantavirus that results in human lungs filling with fluid (pulmonary edema) and causing death in about 38% of all infected patients. The symptoms and signs of HPS are usually grouped into early and late stages. Early HPS signs and symptoms begin about one to five weeks after the person contacts hantavirus associated with rodent urine, feces, or saliva. The early symptoms last about four to 10 days and include the following:
- Muscle aches (especially large muscles in the legs, back, and hips)
Almost every infected person develops these symptoms. Other symptoms that may occur in about half of infected patients include abdominal pain (with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea), headaches, chills, and dizziness.
Late symptoms of HPS symptoms occur about four to 10 days after the early symptoms and include coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath that can become severe.
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