Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Fact Sheet

  • Reservoir: The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is the primary reservoir of the hantavirus that causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in the United States.
  • Transmission: Infected rodents shed the virus through urine, droppings, and saliva. HPS is transmitted to humans through a process called aerosolization. Aerosolization occurs when dried materials contaminated by rodent excreta or saliva are disturbed. Humans become infected by breathing in these infectious aerosols. HPS in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another. HPS in the United States is not known to be transmitted by farm animals, dogs, or cats or from rodents purchased from a pet store.
  • Risk: Anything that puts you in contact with fresh rodent urine, droppings, saliva or nesting materials can place you at risk for infection.
  • Virus: Hantaviruses have been shown to be viable in the environment for 2 to 3 days at normal room temperature. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight kill hantaviruses.
  • Prevention: Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus infection.
  • Cleaning: Use a bleach solution or household disinfectant to effectively deactivate hantaviruses when cleaning rodent infestations. For more information regarding HPS and prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/.