The hantavirus pulmonary syndrome was first recognized in cases that occurred in the U.S. in 1993, which served as an alert not only for American physicians but also for physicians in other countries for the identification of the disease. In the city of São Paulo, Brazil, 3 cases of the syndrome were recorded in 1993. The patients were young brothers residing in the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) region submitted to recent deforestation. Two of the patients died of acute respiratory insufficiency and the third recovered without sequelae. In the surviving patient the diagnosis was established by a laboratory criterion based on the detection of specific IgM and IgG class antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence. In the two patients who died, the diagnosis was confirmed by laboratory tests using immunoperoxidase technique for hantavirus in tissue, in histological lung and heart sections in one case, and by clinical and epidemiological data in the other.