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Hantavirus is a virus carried by some rodents, including deer mice in Washington State. Hantavirus can cause a rare but deadly disease called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). You can get HPS by breathing in hantavirus. This can happen when rodent urine and droppings that contain hantavirus are stirred up in the air. You can also get infected by touching mouse or rat 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 or rat bite. The disease does not spread person-to-person.

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Hantavirus in King County

Purpose of 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

Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse): Determined to be one of the reservoirs and transmitters of the Hantavirus.

Photo by James Gathany/CDC image ID #8358

Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mouse): Determined to be one of the reservoirs and transmitters of the Hantavirus.

Local epidemiology:

One case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) was reported in 2016 and another case was reported in 2017. Since 1997, six cases of HPS have been reported in King County; four cases occurred in adult males and two in adult females. Two cases were most likely exposed in Eastern or Central Washington, one in Idaho, and three in King County. The last fatal case occurred in 2017. Read more about the two most recent cases.

Each year in Washington state between one and five hantavirus cases are reported, usually from the eastern parts of the state.


Link/share our site at www.kingcounty.gov/hantavirus