Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Cause: Sin Nombre virus in western United States, other viruses elsewhere.

Illness and treatment: Fever and mild flu-like symptoms are followed by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with respiratory failure and shock. Treatment is supportive.

Sources: The deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) is the major reservoir for Sin Nombre virus. Exposure occurs by inhaling aerosolized virus excreted in mouse urine, feces or saliva, particularly during improper cleaning of deer mouse infested areas.

Prevention: Keep rodents out of the home and workplace. When cleaning rodent-infested areas, use appropriate safety precautions.

Recent Washington trends: Since its recognition in 1993 through 2016, 48 cases were reported with 17 (35%) associated deaths (including a retrospectively identified case from 1985). Each year there are 1 to 5 cases reported, mainly exposed in eastern counties.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To characterize the epidemiology and clinical aspects of this emerging disease.
  • To monitor disease trends and recognize outbreaks.
  • To target prevention and control messages.

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
  • Health care facilities: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
  • Laboratories: Hantavirus detection notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours. Specimen submission on request but confirmation strongly recommended.
  • Local health jurisdictions: notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE) within 7 days of case investigation completion or summary information required within 21 days.