Hantaviruses are rodent-borne viruses causing clinical illness in humans of varying severity. There are several different hantaviruses, with a different geographical distribution and causing different clinical diseases. Each hantavirus is specific to a different rodent host. Transmission of the virus to humans occurs through the inhalation of infected rodent urine, droppings, or saliva.
Three main clinical syndromes can be distinguished after hantavirus infection: haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), mainly caused by Seoul, Puumala and Dobrava viruses; nephropathia epidemica, a mild form of HFRS caused by Puumala virus; and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome, which may be caused by Andes virus, Sin Nombre virus, and several others. There is no curative treatment for hantavirus infection, and eliminating or minimising contact with rodents is the best way to prevent infection.