Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (cont.)

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What are complications of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

The major complication of HPS is death from respiratory failure (the mortality, or death, rate of patients with HPS is about 38%). The patients may take a few weeks to fully recover. Those patients who survive do not have chronic infections nor do they show other chronic problems or complications.

What is the prognosis of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

The prognosis of HPS is fair to poor because currently, about 62% of patients recover, while about 38% will die. The prognosis may be better if the patient is diagnosed early and given support in an intensive-care unit in a hospital. However, the early diagnosis of HPS is difficult; some patients did not know they had been exposed to rodents that carried hantavirus.

Can hantavirus pulmonary syndrome be prevented?

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Currently, there are no vaccines available to protect against any hantavirus types. The CDC recommends elimination or reduction of contact with any rodents (for example, at home, worksites, campsites, barns, sheds) by reducing rodent access. Sealing up gaps and holes, placing traps, and keeping areas as clean and food free as possible will help. If a person must come in contact with rodents or areas where they live, precautions such as gloves and masks may reduce the chances for infection. Do not attempt to vacuum away rodent-contaminated debris as the aerosol created may increase the risk for HPS. Wiping or spraying the areas with detergent and bleach solution (see above) is the way to disinfect areas.

Where can people get more information on hantavirus pulmonary syndrome?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Viral Special Pathogens Branch
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Hantavirus." Aug. 29, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/technical/hanta/virology.html>.

United States. State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. "Hantavirus - Fact Sheet." Mar. 25, 2008. <http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3136&q=388316>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2014

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