Hantavirus is a potentially deadly disease caused by a virus carried by rodents. It can lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) which causes the lungs to fill with fluid and can cause respiratory failure.
The potential for cases exists statewide in south Dakota because the primary carrier of the virus is the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus ), which is found statewide. (Photo credit: James Gathany, CDC)
Since the hantavirus was first detected in 1993 in the Four Corners area of the southwestern United States, approximately 640 cases have been reported in the United States. South Dakota has reported a total of 15 cases since 1993.
- If a person is infected with hantavirus, symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure.
- Early symptoms are fatigue, fever (101-104°), and muscle aches.
- Half of the people infected with hantavirus will also develop headaches, dizziness, chills, and gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Later symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath.
If you have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches and severe shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately. Be sure to tell your doctor that you have been around rodents — this will alert your doctor to look closely for any rodent-carried disease such as HPS.