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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is caused by several hantaviruses, which can be carried by certain species of mice and rats. People can become infected with a hantavirus by breathing in aerosolized virus particles from infected rodent saliva, urine, or feces. Less commonly, infection can occur by touching your nose or mouth after handling materials contaminated by infected rodents, or by being bitten by an infected rodent. The typical prodrome consists of fever, chills, myalgia, headaches, and gastrointestinal symptoms, and can become complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), respiratory failure, and shock. The case fatality rate is 35%. Most cases occur west of the Mississippi River; there has never been a case of HPS in Georgia.