Treatment

There is no treatment approved specifically for hantavirus. However, if the infection is recognized early and the child is taken to an intensive care unit, some may do better. in intensive care, patients are intubated and given oxygen therapy to help them through the period of severe respiratory distress. The earlier the child is brought in to intensive care, the better. Patients experiencing full distress are less likely to survive.

Children who have been around rodents and have symptoms of fever, deep muscle aches, and severe shortness of breath should see a doctor immediately. Parents should be sure to inform the doctor that the child has been around rodents, which will alert the physician to look closely for any rodent-carried disease such as HPS. Although the antiviral drug Virazole (ribavirin) is effective in a related disease (hemorrhagic fever) caused by Old World hantaviruses, it is not effective against HpS and is not recommended. Ribavirin is not available for this use under and existing research protocol.

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