Hantavirus causes a respiratory disease in people and is transmitted by infected rodents. It is often fatal. It can usually be found in rural areas.  


Hantavirus is transmitted to people through contact with infected rodents.

 Contact includes:

  • Inhaling airborne droplets of an infected rodent’s saliva, urine, or feces.
    • Hantavirus can become airborne if any particles containing the virus are moved around while cleaning or by the wind
  • Eating or drinking food contaminated with an infected rodent’s saliva, urine, or feces.
  • Touching contaminated feces and then touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth, or any open wound.
  • Being bitten or scratched by an infected rodent.

Possible Signs of Infestation


  • Deer mice are the most common transmitters of hantavirus
  • Other types of mice may also carry hantavirus.

Burrows and nests of mice

  • Piles of debris such as twigs, insulation, grass, usually in or around wood piles, shrubbery, and piles of debris.

Mouse droppings

  • Look like black grains of rice, usually near the walls and in corners

If you have rodents in your home

Air Out:

  • Air out any potentially contaminated areas for an extended period of time

Clean up:

  • Wear gloves
  • Spray the area with a bleach mixture solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) and let sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Pick up solution with paper towels
  • Wash hands thoroughly after cleaning up


  • Flu-like symptoms with trouble breathing
  • Fever of 101°-104°
  • Abdominal, joint, or back pains
  • Nausea and vomiting (sometimes)
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms of hantavirus occur 1 to 6 weeks after exposure. If you think you have been exposed to hantavirus, seek medical attention immediately.


There is no specific treatment, vaccine, or cure for this virus. If symptoms are recognized early, receive medical treatment immediately.

Let your health care provider know that you have been around rodents which will allow them to check for rodent-carried diseases such as hantavirus.