Who is affected by hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS)

Through July 6, 2005, 396 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) had been reported in the United States.1

  • HPS mostly affects adults, but the age of people who develop HPS has ranged from 10 to 83 years old.
  • HPS affects both sexes, although males are at a slightly higher risk of developing the illness (63% male and 37% female).
  • 77% of the people with HPS have been white, 19% have been American Indian, 2% have been African American, and 1% have been Asian.

Although the majority of HPS cases occur in the southwestern United States, cases have been reported in 31 states.2 Most people who develop HPS either live in rural areas or have visited rural areas within 4 weeks before symptoms of the illness appear.

Other countries also have had outbreaks:

  • HPS has been found in western Canada, where 32 cases have been confirmed.3
  • In the mid- to late 1990s, more than 500 cases were reported in South America.3
  • A dozen cases were reported in Panama in 1999.4


  1. National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Case information: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome case count and descriptive statistics. All About Hantaviruses. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/hanta/hps/noframes/caseinfo.htm.
  2. Mills JN, et al. (2002). Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome—United States: Updated recommendations for risk reduction. MMWR 51(RR-9): 1–12.
  3. Khan AS, Young JC (2001). Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: At the crossroads. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, 14(2): 205–209.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000). Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome—Panama, 1999–2000. MMWR, 49(10): 205–207.

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