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Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome refers to an acute respiratory disease caused by the Sin Nombre virus. The disease was first identified as being caused by the Sin Nombe virus in the four corners area (where borders of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado join) in 1993. There is evidence of people dying of the disease at least back to 1959. Indiana has had two cases of hatavirus pulmonary syndrome identified since 1993. There are several other viruses that cause similar disease in the United States and in South America
The reservoir of Sin Nombre virus has been identified primarily as the deer mouse. Cotton rats, rice rats, and white footed mice each carry a virus that can cause HPS. These rodents shed the virus in their saliva and urine. Transmission to people occurs when:
Individuals with HPS exhibit fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, nausa, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, rapid difficult breathing, cough, rapid heartbeat, and sometime low blood pressure. The incubation time is thought to be 1 to 5 weeks.
You cannot tell without seeing your doctor. Your physician will evaluate clinical symptoms, conduct a thorough physical examination, chest x-rays, and laboratory testing to confirm whether or not you have HPS
There is not a definitive treatment for HPS. Physicians provide supportive care in hospitals until the body’s immune system overcomes the infection.
HPS is prevented by taking steps to reduce the exposure to contaminated mouse urine and saliva. Steps that can be taken are: