Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a disease transmitted by infected rodents
through urine, droppings, or saliva. Humans can contract the disease when they breathe
in aerosolized virus through activities such as dusting or sweeping areas contaminated
with rodent excrement. Hantavirus infections can be asymptomatic, cause a mild hantaviral
illness or HPS. Supportive medical care is necessary since there is no specific treatment
for the disease. HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified throughout
the United States. The virus strain most common in the western US is called Sin Nombre virus.
The virus is not transmissible from person-to-person.
In California, the only rodent to transmit hantavirus is the deer mouse,
. Deer mice commonly are found in natural grasslands,
chaparral habitats and sparsely vegetated desert areas. Evidence of hantavirus in deer
mice has been detected by Environmental Health previously in some parts of the Antelope
Valley. Control of deer mice in and around homes and cabins remains the primary strategy
for preventing hantavirus infection. The common house mouse, or other rodents, does not
carry this disease.
There have been a total of four confirmed human cases of the disease recorded in
Los Angeles County since the disease recognition in 1993.