Hantaviruses are transmitted to humans from the dried droppings, urine, or saliva of mice
and rats. The disease begins as a flu-like illness characterized by fever,
chills, and muscle aches, but it can rapidly progress to a
life-threatening condition marked by respiratory failure as the lungs fill
with fluid. Animal laboratory workers and persons working in infested
buildings are at increased risk to this disease, particularly during dusty clean-up activities.
There are currently no specific OSHA standards for
This section highlights standards,
preambles to final rules (background to final rules), and standard
interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to
Hantavirus in the workplace.
Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have
OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29
Preambles to Final Rules
What is Hantavirus?
Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry
Hantavirus is at risk of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Even healthy
individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus. The following
references aid in recognizing disease characteristics and hazards associated
- Hantavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Covers a variety of topics and
links to references related to Hantavirus. Links include information about
how Hantavirus is spread, rodent carriers, symptoms, prevention, and
- Reported Cases of HPS: HPS in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Hantavirus. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
(CCOHS). Provides answers to basic questions about
Hantavirus, including occupations associated with elevated risk.
- Simons, J., and L. Riley. "Hantaviruses: An Overview." Comparative Medicine 52.2(2002): 97-110. Covers associated
diseases and their pathogenesis, as well as the biology and ecology of
Hantavirus alone and when associated with rodent hosts.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The following references provide information about the
diagnosis and treatment of Hantavirus.
- HPS Technical/Clinical Information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Covers a variety of topics and
links to references related to Hantavirus such as
its clinical manifestation, treatment, diagnostics, and epidemiology.
- Schmaljohn, C. and B. Hjelle. "Hantaviruses:
A Global Disease Problem." Emerging
Infectious Diseases, 3.2(1997, June). Provides a listing
of Hantavirus species, descriptions of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
(HFRS) and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), the ecology and epidemiology
of Hantavirus infections, and information about the genetic diversity and
evolution of Hantaviruses.
- Khan, A., and J. Young. "Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: At the
Crossroads." Current Opinion in Infectious Disease 14.2(2001): 205-9. Provides a review of various aspects of Hantavirus pulmonary
syndrome, including pathogenesis, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Control and Prevention
The following references provide safety and health
information to aid in the prevention and control of Hantavirus hazards.
- Preventing Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides cleanup information for the
prevention of Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).
Pulmonary Syndrome -- United States: Updated Recommendations for Risk
Reduction. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 51(RR09);1-12, (2002, July 26). Provides
updated recommendations for prevention and control of Hantavirus infections
associated with rodents in the United States.
- Education Materials and Media. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides an educational video that teaches how to
prevent infection with Hantavirus.
Management of Agents Associated with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome: Interim
Biosafety Guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 43(RR-7);1-7, (1994, May 13).
Provides interim biosafety guidelines for preventing laboratory-associated
infections with agents that cause Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
- Rodent Exclusion Manual [2 MB PDF,
79 pages]. National Park
Service (NPS), (Revised March 2005). Provides a training guide for NPS employees offering information
on rodent biology and ecology, and methods for building inspection and
- For additional information, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Pages on:
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
- Education Materials and Media. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provides links to brochures, manuals, podcasts, videos and Post-it cards.
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