Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Background and Symptoms
Hantaviruses continue to be isolated from a variety of rodents
throughout the United States, including those which exist in
close proximity to human populations. Hantavirus Pulmonary
Syndrome (HPS) is a relatively rare disease. The incubation
period ranges from 1 to 3 weeks, and initial symptoms include
fever, muscle aches, and feeling tired. After about 4-10 days,
people with HPS develop a cough and shortness of breath.1
It is important to seek treatment quickly if HPS
infection is suspected.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in Florida
In October 1993, a resident of South Dade County, Florida was
hospitalized with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) including
renal involvement. During the investigation of this case, a
previously unknown hantavirus, Black Creek Canal Virus (BCCV),
was isolated from cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus), a
rodent commonly found in residential areas throughout the state.2
Between August and December 1994 the Florida Department of
Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) and the US Public
Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
attempted to better define the scope of Hantavirus activity in
rodents and at-risk human populations in South Dade County.
Small mammal trapping indicated the presence of antihantaviral
antibodies in 13% of Sigmodon hispidus (cotton rat)3.
Intensified surveillance at selected hospitals for patients
admitting with HPS symptoms and renal involvement has not
detected any new cases since the initial one in 1993.
Transmission and Precautions
the lack of evidence of human infection in South Dade County,
the presence of BCCV in native rodents and confirmation of an
association between hantavirus infection and acute renal
insufficiency continues to be of concern. Activities such as
cleaning barns, sheds or abandoned dwellings, disturbing rodent
inhabited areas while hiking, camping or working in enclosed
spaces that have been infested with rodents may pose a risk of
infection. Persons associated with such situations should avoid
inhaling dust and otherwise follow CDC prevention
CDC, Healthy Pets, Healthy People.
Newly identified hantavirus-Florida 1994, MMWR
Khan, AS et al.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in
Florida: association with the newly identified Black Creek
Canal virus. Am J Med. 1996 Jan;100(1):46-8.
Hantavirus Disease- Southeastern United States: Interim
Recommendations for Risk Reduction;; MMWR