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Find information and resources for hantavirus.

Hantavirus is a virus that is carried by some rodents. In Washington State, deer mice are the only rodents known to carry hantavirus. Hantavirus can cause a rare but deadly disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). You can get HPS by breathing in hantavirus. When fresh rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials are stirred up, tiny droplets containing the virus get into the air. This process is known as "airborne transmission".

You can also get infected by touching mouse urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. It’s also possible to get HPS from a mouse bite. The disease does not spread person-to-person.

Download the hantavirus auto mechanics poster

Resources for health care providers

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a reportable condition in King County - see disease reporting requirements.

View clinical information about hantavirus from the CDC

Surveillance in King County

The purposes of hantavirus surveillance:

  • To facilitate diagnostic testing of suspected cases.
  • To identify sources of infection.
  • To facilitate environmental cleanup of rodent-infested areas where cases have occurred.