Lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis

color = violet
name = "Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus"

image_caption = Negative stain electron micrograph of an arenavirus from a mouse that tested positive for LCM
virus_group = v
familia = "Arenaviridae"
genus = "Arenavirus"
species = "Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus"

Caption =
DiseasesDB =
ICD10 = A87.2
ICD9 = ICD9|049.0
MedlinePlus =
eMedicineSubj = med
eMedicineTopic = 1350 | MeshID = D008216

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that presents as aseptic meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis. Its causative agent is the Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae. The name was coined by Charles Armstrong in 1934. [Edward A. Beeman: "Charles Armstrong, M.D.: A Biography", 2007 pp. 183ff. (also online [ here (PDF)] ]

Alternative Names

*Benign lymphocytic meningitis
*Lymphocytic meningoencephalitis
*Serous lymphocytic meningitis
*La Maladie d'Armstrong [ Beeman op. cit. pp. 305f.]

Virus biology

LCMV is an enveloped virus with a helical nucleocapsid, it has a negative-sense, single-stranded, segmented (S segment and L segment), RNA genome. The first arenavirus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), was isolated in 1933 by Charles Armstrong during a study of an epidemic in St. Louis. Although not the cause of the outbreak, LCMV was found to be a cause of nonbacterial or aseptic meningitis.


LCMV is naturally spread by the common house mouse, "Mus musculus". [Hill, A. Edward. "Benign lymphocytic meningitis." "Caribbean Medical Journal, Vol. XI, No." 1. (1948), "pp". 34-37.] Once infected, these mice can become chronically infected by maintaining virus in their blood and/or persistently shedding virus in their urine.Chronically infected female mice usually transmit infection to their offspring, which in turn become chronically infected. About five per cent of mice, hamsters and rodents are thought to carry the disease. Pet rodents can contract the virus after exposure to infected mice.

The virus seems to be relatively resistant to drying and therefore humans can become infected by inhaling infectious aerosolized particles of rodent urine, feces, or saliva, by ingesting food contaminated with virus, by contamination of mucus membranes with infected body fluids, or by directly exposing cuts or other open wounds to virus-infected blood. The only documented cases of transmission from animals, have occurred between humans and mice or hamsters. However, humans rarely become infected from pet rodents.

Seroprevalence is approximately 5% of the US population. It tends to be more common among lower socio-economic groupings, probably reflecting more frequent and direct contacts with mice.

The virus normally has little effect on healthy people but can be deadly for people whose immune system has been weakened. Person-to-person transmission does not usually occur, with the exception of vertical transmission from an infected mother to fetus. In May 2005, reports of the deaths of at least three organ transplant patients in the US were linked to the virus.

In popular culture

The virus plays a role in the modern remake of the television series "Battlestar Galactica". In the episode entitled "Torn", the Cylon race is exposed to lymphocytic encephalitis after they bring an ancient beacon carrying the pathogen aboard their craft. Unlike their human counterparts, the Cylons do not have a natural immunity to this virus; many die. The humans learn of this weakness in the episode entitled "A Measure of Salvation".



*ICTVdB-The Universal Virus Database, version 4. []
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [ Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Fact Sheet]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis — n an acute disease caused by an arenavirus (genus Arenavirus) and characterized by fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, stiff neck, and slow pulse, marked by the presence of numerous lymphocytes in the cerebrospinal fluid, and transmitted esp.… …   Medical dictionary

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis — noun Etymology: New Latin choriomeningitis cerebral meningitis, from chorio of a membrane resembling the chorion Date: 1934 an acute disease that is caused by an arenavirus (species Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus of the genus Arenavirus),… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis — noun a form of viral meningitis caused by a virus carried by the common house mouse • Hypernyms: ↑choriomeningitis * * * noun : an acute virus disease characterized by fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, stiff neck, and slow pulse, marked by… …   Useful english dictionary

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis — ▪ pathology       inflammation of the meninges (membranes covering the central nervous system) and choroid plexus (an area of the brain that regulates the pressure of cerebrospinal fluid), characterized by marked infiltration of lymphocytes… …   Universalium

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus — an arenavirus of the LCMV LASV complex that causes lymphocytic choriomeningitis. Called also LCM v …   Medical dictionary

  • lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus — noun the RNA virus that causes lymphocytic choriomeningitis; infects mice and monkeys and dogs and guinea pigs and human beings • Hypernyms: ↑arenavirus • Member Holonyms: ↑Arenaviridae …   Useful english dictionary

  • choriomeningitis — A cerebral meningitis in which there is a more or less marked cellular infiltration of the meninges, often with a lymphocytic infiltration of the choroid plexuses, particularly of the third and fourth ventricles. lymphocytic c. a form of …   Medical dictionary

  • choriomeningitis — noun a cerebral meningitis with cellular infiltration of the meninges • Hypernyms: ↑meningitis • Hyponyms: ↑lymphocytic choriomeningitis * * * |kōrē(ˌ)ō+ noun Etymology: New Latin, from …   Useful english dictionary

  • lymphocytic meningitis — see under choriomeningitis …   Medical dictionary

  • benign lymphocytic meningitis — lymphocytic choriomeningitis …   Medical dictionary

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