LYMPHOCYTIC CHORIOMENINGITIS (LCM)

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is an infectious viral illness transmitted by rodents. This is caused by the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae. The common house mouse is the virus’s major reservoir. Despite the fact that LCMV is known to cause neurological illness, infection without symptoms is quite prevalent. Other species of rodents, such as hamsters, are not natural reservoirs for LCMV, although they may be infected by wild mice at the pet shop, home setting, or breeder. Humans are more likely to catch LCMV from house mice, although infections have also been observed in rodents kept as pets.

Infections with LCMV have been documented in Japan, the Americas, Europe, and Australia and may occur anywhere infected rodent hosts exist. Historically, the condition has been underreported, making it difficult to derive incidence rates or prevalence estimates by geographic location.

SYMPTOMS

Some individuals infected with LCMV may not develop symptoms. For those who get the virus, the beginning of symptoms typically occurs 8 to 13 days following exposure. A typical two-phased febrile sickness then ensues.

Typically, the early phase starts with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • lack of appetite
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • fever
  • stiff neck
  • nausea and vomiting 

Other symptoms occurring less often include:

  • joint discomfort
  • chest pain
  • testicular pain
  • pain in the parotid glands
  • sore throat
  • cough

Following a few days of healing, the sickness enters the second phase, which includes symptoms of:

  • meningitis 
  • characteristics of encephalitis 
  • acute hydrocephalus
  • myelitis (in rare instances)  

Pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system may have considerably more severe symptoms. There have been fatalities among organ transplant patients who contracted LCMV. Consult a physician if you are having symptoms. Although the risk of LCMV infection is very low, anybody who comes into touch with the feces, saliva, or urine of an infected rodent is at risk of infection.

DIAGNOSIS

The most prevalent laboratory abnormalities during the early stage of the illness are a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) and a low white blood cell count (leukopenia). Serum liver enzymes may also be somewhat increased. An increase in the number of white blood cells, a drop in glucose levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or a rise in protein levels are frequently detected after the beginning of neurological illness during the second phase.

Detecting IgM and IgG antibodies in CSF and serum is often used to make a laboratory diagnosis. Viral may be found in the CSF by PCR or virus isolation during the acute stage of the disease.

TREATMENT

Depending on the severity, encephalitis, meningoencephalitis, or aseptic meningitis need hospitalization and supportive care. Under some conditions, anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids may be considered. Although studies have demonstrated that ribavirin, a medicine used to treat a variety of other viral illnesses, is effective against LCMV in vitro, there is no evidence to support its regular use in the treatment of Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) in people.

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