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Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Hantavirus: Reducing Your Risk of Exposure Toolkit

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare but often fatal disease. HPS was first recognized in 1993 in the southwestern United States. Although there are many types of hantaviruses in the United States, Sin Nombre virus (SNV) is the specific hantavirus that causes HPS in the western United States. SNV is transmitted to people by deer mice.

This toolkit contains occupational health information to educate workers whose job sites or duties could put them at risk for exposure to hantavirus. The toolkit information is also useful for those who live or recreate in areas where infected deer mice may be present.

The information in the toolkit materials is designed to help the user know:

  • that Sin Nombre virus causes hantavirus in California;
  • what is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome;
  • how to identify and safely clean-up mouse infested areas;
  • how to safely prepare seasonally used buildings for closure and opening to prevent exposure to hantavirus. ​​​

Tools in the Toolkit:


Four videos are available on the Californian Department of Public Health­­­­--YouTube website:

1. Hantavirus: Reducing Your Risk and Exposure 16 minutes 19 seconds. This video can be used as a training tool in a group or individual setting. This video and the additional videos listed below are available on DVD for areas without access to the internet.
Promoting education and raising awareness about hantavirus are important elements in preventing disease transmission to humans. This video will assist individuals whose work may bring them into contact with rodents. There are three sections in this video:
  • Section One you will learn about hantavirus and how human infection with Sin Nombre virus occurs.
  • Section Two will focus on how to keep mice out of buildings, how to clean-up mice infested areas, and how to trap rodents.
  • Section Three will discuss procedures for seasonal closure of buildings and opening buildings that may have been contaminated by rodents.

2. How to Exclude Mice from Buildings 6 minutes 31 seconds. Deer mice can readily infest buildings in rural areas. The feces, urine, and saliva of infected deer mice can spread Sin Nombre virus -- the causative agent of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome to people. This video will demonstrate how to look for evidence of rodent infestations; identify where rodents are likely to enter buildings; and how to exclude rodents from entering and occupying buildings.

3. Trapping Deer Mice in USFS Facilities 4 minutes 01 second. This video, produced for use by the United States Forest Service Region 5 in California, provides information on trapping deer mice indoors. Aerosolized deer mouse urine, feces and saliva may transmit hantavirus to humans, so it is important to safely trap and remove mice from buildings. The video discusses how to identify signs of mouse activity indoors, the types of traps, proper trap baiting, setting, placement, and disposal.

4. How to Clean up a Dead Mouse in a Trap 4 minutes 36 seconds. A dead mouse that is caught in a snap-trap should be handled and disposed of properly to minimize the risk of getting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease associated with deer mice. This video will demonstrate the necessary contents of a cleanup kit and how to safely clean up and dispose of a dead, trapped mouse. 


The three page “Preventing HPS in the Workplace” (PDF) information sheet provides information to accompany the video. Please download and print.


This 16 question self-test should be completed after viewing the Hantavirus: Reducing Your Risk and Exposure video; download and print the self test here: Self-Test (PDF).


Preventing Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the Workplace” (PDF) 11 in. by 17 in. poster for the workplace. The poster can be ordered below.


“Rodents and Hantavirus” brochure available in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF). The English brochure can be ordered below. The Spanish version may be downloaded and printed.

Ordering Information:

The following materials are available free of charge from the California Department of Public Health - Vector-Borne Disease Section: 
Click here to email an order. Please include the quantity of each item requested, language (if applicable), contact name, organization name (if applicable), street mailing address, and phone number. Most materials will be shipped within two weeks. ​ ​​
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