Generally, the hantavirus is spread through close contact with rodents, whether it’s passed through their urine, feces, saliva, or a bite from an infected animal. The virus has existed for centuries and is best known as the “New World” hantavirus. It can eventually lead to a condition called HPS, or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and the symptoms tend to include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, and chest pains. About 38 percent of cases, however, are fatal.

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