Increased vascular permeability is a key feature of the pathological symptoms caused by hantaviruses. Here, we analysed the interaction between hantaviruses and mast cells, which regulate vascular homeostasis. In highly purified human skin mast cells increasing amounts of Hantaan (HTNV) and, to a lower extent, Prospect Hill (PHV) virions were produced. Replication was confirmed by the production of viral plus-strand RNA as determined by a virus strand-specific RT-PCR. PHV but not HTNV elicited early expression of beta interferon, MxA, ISG15 and CCL5 consistent to studies with other cell types. The data demonstrate that mature mast cells are permissive to infection with hantaviruses. This interaction might contribute to the development of vascular leakage syndrome.