History of Hantavirus 

Since 1993 researchers have discovered that there is not just one Hantavirus that causes HPS, but several. In June 1993, a Louisiana bridge inspector who had not traveled to four corners (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) developed HPS. The patients tissues were tested for the presences of antibodies to Hantavirus.

In May 1993 an outbreak of an unexplained pulmonary illness occurred in southwestern United States, in an area shared by Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah known as ‘‘The four corners’’ as stated above.



Hantavirus (it’s a rodent borne disease) is a viral disease that is spread from rodent (mammal like mice or rat) to people.

Hantavirus can cause severe infections of the lungs (Difficulty in breathing and cough) or kidney problem (kidney failure, abdominal pain). The disease can spread through contact with infected rodent or dropping like urine and feces.

It has no early signs (it starts with sudden headache, fever, muscle ache and even abdominal symptoms like cough, breathing problem, rashes, or kidney failure)

Blood test helps in diagnosis to identify the virus. It cannot be spread between humans. This diseases becomes more prominent if the lungs are effected, oxygen and drugs helps to stabilize the blood pressure.

Its affects various species of rodents throughout the world. Viruses are mostly present in urine and feces of the rodent (mammals).

The Hantavirus infection can be spread when you come to contact with feces, urine, or even possibly inhale virus particles in place with large amounts of rodent droppings.

Organs affected with Hantavirus

  • Kidney causing Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS)
  • The Lung causing Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Pulmonary Syndrome was recognized in 1993. 

In southwestern United States as was recorded 697 cases in 2017 occurred in United States. Most in western state region, Canada and central and South American countries some cases where found.  

Renal Syndrome it occurs in Europe, Korea, China and Russia parts primarily occurs.

There are few cases of Hantavirus infection spread by pets, rats, which were found or occurred in United States, Canada and Europe.



Its begins with headache, fever and muscle aches, its takes two weeks after being exposed to rodents droppings or urine, some people can also have abdominal pain, vomiting or sometimes diarrhea.


Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

Most people who develop pulmonary syndrome they develop cough and shortness of breath become severe within 1 hour.

The fluids collects around the lungs where by the blood pressure becomes low.

Hantavirus causes death to up-to 50% of people with pulmonary syndrome.

People with strong immunity can survive the first few days and improve rapidly whereby they recover within 2-3 weeks completely.

Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome 

Most people with Renal Syndrome with Hemorrhagic Fever have no symptoms.

But people with mild symptoms recover completely.

In others, symptoms become severe, very low blood pressure, kidney failure develops anuria, shock develops in few people.

In some cases blood in urine or feces present to some of the people, and bruises in their skin.

Death occurs 6-15%, but recovery may take up to 6 month.



Blood test to identify the virus

This helps to confirm the diagnosis, where by doctors do other blood tests to evaluate the function of the kidney and other organs.

In case of pulmonary syndrome is suspected the doctor can request for chest X-ray to be done to exclude other causes of fluid around the lungs.

Treatment of HantaVirus is mostly supportive.

Supportive care.

For the Renal Syndrome, dialysis may be needed and can be lifesaving and antiviral drugs ribavirin, given intravenously, may help reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of death.

For Pulmonary Syndrome, oxygen and drugs to stabilize blood pressure, this appears to the most crucial to recovery. Sometimes a ventilator is needed to help with breathing.


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Apr 18, 2020, 3:57 PM - Inderjit Kaur
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