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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is an illness caused by a family of viruses called hantaviruses. HPS is a rare, but often serious illness of the lungs. In Montana, the deer mouse is the reservoir for hantavirus. If infected, the virus is found in their droppings, urine, and saliva. The most common way that a person can get HPS from breathing in the virus when it is aerosolized (stirred up into the air). People can also become infected after touching mouse droppings or nesting material that contain the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.


Cascade County confirms first case of Hantavirus for 2016 (5/16/16)
DPHHS reminds Montanans to take precautions to avoid hantavirus infection (posted 5/5/2016)
CDC Hantavirus webpage
Hantavirus in Montana: 1993-2015 (infographic)
Montana One Health: Sin Nombre Virus (Hantavirus)


Hantavirus cases in Montana

Montana reported a total of 42 Hantavirus cases with 10 deaths between 1993 and YTD 2016.

Cases of Hantavirus in Montana 1993-2015 by County (table)

What are the symptoms of HPS?

Symptoms of HPS can occur between 1 and 5 weeks following exposure to rodent droppings, urine, or saliva.

Early symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills

Late symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
For more information on signs and symptoms of HPS, visit: CDC HPS Signs & Symptoms

How do you prevent HPS?

The best way to prevent HPS is to reduce contact with rodents and their excreta.

  • Seal up: Seal up holes inside and outside the home to keep rodents out.
  • Trap up: Trap rodents around the home to reduce the population
  • Clean up: Take precautions while cleaning rodent-infested areas
  • Never sweep or vacuum mouse droppings Wear rubber or plastic gloves
  • Thoroughly spray/soak area with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water to reduce dust
  • Wipe/mop area with a sponge or paper towel
  • Wash hands thoroughly
For more information, visit CDC Hantavirus Prevention


Additional resources