Blood tests can reveal if your body has made antibodies to a hantavirus. Your doctor may order other laboratory tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Specific treatment options for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome are limited. But the prognosis improves with early recognition, immediate hospitalization and adequate support for breathing.
People with severe cases need immediate treatment in an intensive care unit. Intubation and mechanical ventilation may be needed to support breathing and to help manage fluid in the lungs. Intubation involves placing a breathing tube through your nose or mouth into the windpipe (trachea) to help keep your airways open and functioning.
Severe disease may require a treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to help ensure you retain a sufficient supply of oxygen. This involves continuously pumping your blood through a machine that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen. The oxygenated blood is then returned to your body.
Preparing for your appointment
You might first see your family doctor. However, when you call to set up an appointment, your doctor may recommend urgent medical care. If you're having difficulty breathing or know you have been exposed to rodents, seek emergency medical attention.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you may want to write a list of answers to the following questions:
- What symptoms are you experiencing? When did they begin?
- Have you recently cleaned any rarely used rooms or buildings?
- Have you had any recent exposure to mice or rats?
- Do you have any other medical problems?
- What medications and supplements do you routinely take?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- Have your signs and symptoms included flu-like discomfort, such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue?
- Have you had any gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea or vomiting?
- Have you noticed your heart beating faster than normal?
- Are you having difficulty breathing? If so, is it getting worse?
- Is anyone else in your life having similar signs or symptoms?
Jan. 07, 2022
- Ryan ET, et al., eds. Viral hemorrhagic fevers. In: Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases. 10th ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.
- Bauerfeind R, et al., eds. Zoonoses caused by bunyaviruses. In: Zoonoses: Infectious Diseases Transmissible from Animals to Humans. 4th ed. ASM Press; 2016. https://www.r2library.com. Accessed Oct. 15, 2021.
- Bennett JE, et al. California encephalitis, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, hantavirus hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, and bunyavirus hemorrhagic fevers. In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.
- You can prevent hantavirus: How to protect yourself and your family from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the United States. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/resources. Accessed Oct. 18, 2021.
- Hjelle B. Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 5, 2021.
- Prevent Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: A guide for tourists, campers, and hikers. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/resources/guide-for-tourists-campers-and-hikers.html. Accessed Oct. 18, 2021.
- Tosh PK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Oct. 19, 2021.
Products & Services
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome