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Hantavirus is spread from mice to humans and can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). HPS is a very bad lung disease that can cause death. Deer mice, rice rats and white-footed mice are known to spread hantavirus.


How can I get sick?  

  • Airborne transmission happens when rodent poop, pee, or nesting materials are spread through droplets in air.  
  • People can get sick from eating food that has mouse poop or pee on it.  
  • If a person touches something that has Hantavirus on it and then touches their mouth, they can get sick.  

Activities that put you at risk:  

  • Old/unused buildings 
    • Cleaning, opening or using buildings such as sheds, barns, or garages, that haven’t been used in a while.  
  • Housecleaning activities 
    • Cleaning areas of the house that have been infested* with rodents can put you at risk.  
  • Work related exposure 
    • People who are in construction or pest control workers are at risk. Especially when working in crawl spaces, tight quarters, or vacant buildings.  
  • Campers, Hikers and Hunters 
    • Shelters or trails can be infested with rodents.  

Symptoms in humans:  

Early Symptoms:  

  • Feeling very tired 
  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal)


  • Muscle aches (thighs, hips, back and shoulders)  
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Chills (feeling of being cold and shivering) 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Feeling like you need to throw up 
  • Throwing up 
  • Diarrhea (runny poop) 

Late Symptoms:  

Begins 4 to 10 days after early symptoms.  

  • Coughing 
  • Not able to breath 

What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Cover holes or gaps in your house so mice can’t get in.  
  • Place traps in your home or contact pest control to reduce rodent infestation 
  • Keep the inside and outside of your home clean.  
  • Proper Handwashing. Make sure to wash your hands especially after cleaning outside, in sheds, or in the garage. 
    • Proper Handwashing Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel.                                        


  • Infested: When a large number of insects or animals live in an area.

Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.