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. The virus is found in the droppings, urine, and saliva of infected mice. The most common way that a person can get HPS is 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 materials that contain the virus and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.


DPHHS Confirms First Hantavirus Case of 2021 (posted 4/9/2021)
CDC Hantavirus webpage
hantavirus in Montana Hantavirus in Montana: 1993-2017 (infographic)


Hantavirus cases in Montana

Montana reported a total of 44 Hantavirus cases with 10 deaths between 1993 and YTD 2020.

Cases of Hantavirus in Montana 1993-2021 by County (table)

Map showing cases by county

What are the symptoms of HPS?

Symptoms of HPS typically begin 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
  • Extreme 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 using snap traps to reduce the population
  • Clean up: Take precautions while cleaning rodent-infested areas
    • 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
    • Avoid sweeping or vacuuming up areas with rodent droppings

For more information on HPS prevention, visit CDC Hantavirus Prevention

Additional resources

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