back to OSHA Safety and Health Topics

Hantavirus - Copyright WARNING: Not all materials on this Web site were created by the federal government. Some content  including both images and text  may be the copyrighted property of others and used by the DOL under a license. Such content generally is accompanied by a copyright notice. It is your responsibility to obtain any necessary permission from the owner's of such material prior to making use of it. You may contact the DOL for details on specific content, but we cannot guarantee the copyright status of such items. Please consult the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress  to search for copyrighted materials.

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 Hantavirus.

OSHA Standards

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.

Note: 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 CFR 1910)

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 with Hantavirus.

  • 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 presentation material.

  • 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.

Additional Information

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.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.