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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Those Yosemite visitors who show symptoms of hantavirus should seek medical attention---although there is no specific treatment for the virus, oxygen can help patients breathe and anti-viral medication can protect the kidneys. Sophie Bushwick, Discover Magazine, 30 Aug. 2012 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the last three decades or so, around thirty people contract hantavirus each year; on average, only seven people catch the bubonic plague annually. Elizabeth Barber, The New Yorker, 24 Nov. 2022 As a result, more rodent populations enter into human communities in search of food, increasing the potential to spread hantavirus. Maureen Lichtveld, The Conversation, 10 Nov. 2022 At a news conference 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 But diminishing snowpacks have sent the creatures seeking shelter inside people’s homes, where they have been documented transmitting hantavirus. Evan Bush, NBC News, 8 Aug. 2022 The health officials concluded that the cases are an important reminder for doctors to consider hantavirus infections when diagnosing patients. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 4 Mar. 2022 The vast majority of these are viruses, in particular belonging to the hemorrhagic fever group (including Ebola, hantavirus, Lassa fever), flaviviruses (dengue, zika, yellow fever), and coronaviruses (MERS, and new strands of covid). Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, 9 May 2022 People are rarely exposed to hantavirus because rodents tend to avoid humans. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hantavirus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 26 Jan. 2023.

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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