han·​ta·​vi·​rus ˈhän-tə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce hantavirus (audio) ˈhən- How to pronounce hantavirus (audio) ˈhan- How to pronounce hantavirus (audio)
: any of a family (Hantaviridae and especially genus Orthohantavirus) of bunyaviruses transmitted especially by rodent feces and urine and including viruses causing serious pulmonary disease or hemorrhagic fevers marked by renal necrosis

Examples of hantavirus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rats today are widely seen as filthy, thieving vectors of deadly diseases like plague and hantavirus. WIRED, 7 Oct. 2023 At a news conference earlier this week with Ruiz and other medical professionals, it was announced that initial testing also appeared to rule out Covid-19, Legionella and hantavirus, which can be spread by rodents. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 3 Sep. 2022 Although hantavirus infections are rare, fatality rates are quite high. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Dec. 2021 The authors of that study note that hepatitis can be spread by flooding, droughts can bring in rodents that are infected with hantavirus, and warmer temperatures can lengthen the life of mosquitoes carrying malaria. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 28 June 2023 The most common modern theory suggests that the outbreaks may have been a form of hantavirus, similar to the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome that struck the American southwest in the 1990s. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 24 May 2022 Last summer, a team of Canadian researchers showed in lab experiments that North American deer mice—which live everywhere from forests to suburbs and play a role in transmitting Lyme disease and hantavirus—can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, harbor it without symptoms, and pass it to other mice. Maryn McKenna, Wired, 22 Mar. 2021 The year after the Institute of Medicine’s report was published, five healthy young people collapsed and died in the Southwestern U.S. from a hantavirus passed to them by deer mice. Maryn McKenna, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2020 For eleven diseases - adenovirus infection, measles, Q fever, aseptic viral meningitis, enterovirus infection, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, tularaemia, hantavirus infection, hepatitis A and shigellosis - outbreaks in the human population were significantly correlated to the NAO monthly index. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 8 May 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hantavirus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from hanta- (from Hantaan, river in South Korea near where rodents carrying the virus were collected 1974–78) + virus

First Known Use

1984, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hantavirus was in 1984

Dictionary Entries Near hantavirus

Cite this Entry

“Hantavirus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hantavirus. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


han·​ta·​vi·​rus ˈhan-tə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce hantavirus (audio) ˈhən- How to pronounce hantavirus (audio) ˈhän- How to pronounce hantavirus (audio)
: any of a family (Hantaviridae and especially genus Orthohantavirus) of bunyaviruses that infect specific rodents as their natural hosts and that include some forms causing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in humans following exposure to the virus in airborne particles of rodent urine, feces, or saliva or directly by the bite of a rodent

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