Hantavirus Make an Appointment Find a Doctor Ask a Question Reviewed by Gwen A. Huitt, MD, MS (February 01, 2013) Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a serious disease that affects breathing, muscles, and energy. It can be fatal. People who live or work in rural or semi-rural settings or who frequent similar settings (cabins, etc.) where they may have contact with deer mice and other wild rodents. How Humans Get HPS from Animals Hantavirus is an infection carried by certain wild rodents, mainly deer mice. It is passed to humans the following ways: Breathing in air contaminated with tiny particles of rodent urine, droppings or nesting materials Touching rodent urine, droppings or nesting materials Eating food contaminated with urine, droppings or nesting materials Getting bitten by an infected rodent (this is rare) You CANNOT get Hantavirus from: Another person Farm animals Mosquitoes Dogs or cats Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, or other pet store rodents. Programs & Services Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory Infections Respiratory Treatment Programs Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.