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Lymphocytic choriomeningitis – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, July 20, 2018 by

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is an infectious disease caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV).

LCM is a rodent-borne viral disease while LCMV is a member of the family Arenaviridae. The common house mouse, Mus musculus, is the primary host of LCMV.

While infection in house mouse populations can vary depending on geographic location, at least five percent of house mice in the U.S. carry LCMV. These mice can transmit the virus for the rest of their lives without showing any symptoms of illness.

Other kinds of rodents, like hamsters, are not the natural reservoirs of LCMV, but they can be infected by the virus via wild mice at the breeder, at home, or in the pet store. Humans often get infected by house mice, but there have also been reports of infections via pet rodents.

Known symptoms of lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Patients with lymphocytic choriomeningitis usually experience symptoms at least eight to 13 days after exposure to LCMV. The first phase of the disease can last for about seven days.

The signs of this phase of LCM usually include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lack of appetite
  • Malaise
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Other less frequent signs of LCM may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Parotid/salivary gland pain
  • Sore throat
  • Testicular pain

After a patient recovers from the first phase of illness, they may experience the second phase of the condition.

The second phase of LCM can include symptoms like:

  • Encephalitis – Involves confusion, drowsiness, sensory disturbances, and/or motor abnormalities, such as paralysis.
  • Meningitis – May include fever, headache, stiff neck, etc.
  • Meningoencephalitis – Involves the inflammation of both the brain and meninges.

Risk factors for lymphocytic choriomeningitis may include:

  • Being employed in laboratories and working with the virus or handling infected animals.
  • Contact with the blood, feces, saliva, or urine of wild mice.
  • Owning pet mice or hamsters that originated from colonies contaminated with LCMV or are infected by other wild mice.
  • A pregnant woman with LCM can infect a newborn child.

Body systems harmed by lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis may cause the following complications:

  • Acute hydrocephalus/increased fluid in the brain
  • Arthritis, nerve deafness, and temporary or permanent neurological damage – Observed in patients with LCM who develop encephalitis.
  • Myelitis/inflammation of the spinal cord – Involves signs like changes in body sensation, muscle weakness, or paralysis.
  • Myocarditis/inflammation of the heart muscles
  • Pregnancy-related infection – Involves chorioretinitis, congenital hydrocephalus, and mental retardation. This complication is linked to fetal death and pregnancy termination, along with birth defects like hydrocephaly/water on the brain, mental retardation and vision problems.

LCM is not always fatal and mortality is less than one percent.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent lymphocytic choriomeningitis

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent lymphocytic choriomeningitis or address its signs:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are rich in various antioxidants, minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that can boost the immune system. Sources include bananas, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cherries, citrus juices, grapefruit, kale, oranges, spinach, and tomatoes.
  • Homemade/natural chicken noodle soup – Chicken noodle soup can help reduce inflammation and prevent nasal congestion linked to upper respiratory infections. Chicken noodle soup can also keep you hydrated.
  • Probiotics – Probiotics are “good” bacteria in various foods that can promote gut and immune health, especially for patients with severe viral infections. Sources include buttermilk, fermented soy products, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt

Treatments, management plans for lymphocytic choriomeningitis

Based on the severity of their condition, patients with lymphocytic choriomeningitis who develop aseptic meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis may need hospitalization and supportive treatment.

Treatment for LCM also includes anti-inflammatory drugs, which can be recommended for certain cases.

Where to learn more


Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) is an infectious disease caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV).

The symptoms of lymphocytic choriomeningitis usually include fever, malaise, and nausea.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis may cause complications like acute hydrocephalus, myelitis, or myocarditis.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken soup, and probiotics can help prevent lymphocytic choriomeningitis or address its symptoms.

Treatment for LCM includes anti-inflammatory drugs, hospitalization, and supportive treatment.

Sources include: 1 2 3


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