Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (cont.)

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Is hantavirus contagious?

Hantavirus is not contagious from person to person. The virus is transferred from rodents to humans. Although outbreaks seem like there is person-to-person transfer, outbreaks are usually noted among groups of people exposed to the same infected rodent population; but those with hantavirus infections do not transfer them to other uninfected individuals. While this is the situation in North America, there are reports that in 1996, mild infections with hantaviruses were transmissible in an outbreak in Argentina. However, to date, there has been no reported person-to-person transfer of the virus in the United States. Small outbreaks are reported each year; for example, Texas had its first individual diagnosed with hantavirus in 2015.

How long is hantavirus contagious?

In North America, there is no evidence that hantavirus is contagious. In South America, an estimated 16-35 days was the contagious period for a few patients who investigators considered to have exhibited person-to-person transfer.

What is the incubation period for hantavirus?

According to the CDC, in North America, the incubation period (time from initial exposure to the virus and development of the first symptoms) is estimated to be between one to five weeks after initial exposure to infected rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. In South American outbreaks, researchers estimate that the incubation period varies from about 12-27 days.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2015

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