New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

ImageHantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a severe respiratory illness that can be deadly. It is caused by the Sin Nombre virus, one of a family of viruses that is found worldwide. It can be transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings, or saliva.

Humans can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. HPS was first recognized in 1993 and has since been identified throughout the United States. Although rare, HPS is potentially deadly.

Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing Hantavirus infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

This fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about Hantavirus including what it is, what the symptoms are, how it spreads, how long people are contagious, what treatments are available, and how to protect yourself from the virus.

Prevention Pamphlet

This helpful Hantavirus Prevention Pamphlet explains how to prevent Hantavirus. The steps include airing out and sealing up buildings, trapping mice, and cleaning up droppings and nests. It also describes what the symptoms of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome are.

Rodent-Proofing Techniques

Controlling rodents in buildings is very important from the perspectives of both their potential effects on human health and their possible damage to physical structures. Rodent control can be an attainable goal, but it always demands more than randomly setting out a few traps. Please read the Rodent Exclusion Manual for more information.

Manual for Investigation

This comprehensive Hantavirus Manual for Investigation provides all the information required to investigate Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome cases including a summary of the disease, agent details, mode of transmission, period of communicability, incubation period, diagnosis, treatment, surveillance, control measures, and more.

Physicians & Healthcare Workers

This Hantavirus Information for Physicians & Healthcare Workers document provides a wealth of information about Hantavirus for New Mexico physicians and healthcare workers including clinical recognition, presumptive laboratory recognition, presumptive clinical and laboratory diagnosis, immediate consultation and referral, rapid diagnostic testing, and more.

Cases in the United States

As of January 6, 2016 a total of 690 cases of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome had been reported in the United States, from 35 states.

Activity in New Mexico

There have been five reported Human Cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in New Mexico in 2017. There were eight reported Human Cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in New Mexico in 2016.

See the following news releases for more information:

There was one reported Human Case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in New Mexico in 2015, in a 53-year-old woman from Taos County who survived the illness.

See the following news releases for more information:

Activity from Previous Years

New Mexico Case Data

Case data from previous years are archived below for historical reference.


Learn More

Please visit the CDC's Hantavirus Information page for more information about HPS.