Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord. For some people, the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) causes mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. But the virus is of special concern to people with weak immune systems and to pregnant women. LCMV can infect a baby before birth and cause disability.

LCMV can be carried by:

  • Common house mice. You can be infected by handling or breathing dust from an infected mouse's feces, urine, saliva, or nest.
  • Pet rodents or feeder mice. Rarely, a rodent pet, such as a mouse, hamster, or guinea pig, is infected by house mice and passes the virus on to humans.

To lower your risk of LCMV infection:

  • Control house mice in your home.
  • Wear gloves if you feed mice to reptiles.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after you handle rodents or pet bedding.
  • Use a disinfectant to clean up areas affected by house mice. Avoid sweeping or vacuuming, which stirs up dust.

Do not use a cabin or any other enclosed shelter that has signs of mice until it has been aired out, cleaned, and disinfected.

Last Revised: May 8, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Leslie Tengelsen, DVM, PhD

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