Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM, is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease caused by lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a member of the family Arenaviridae, that was initially isolated in 1933.
The primary host of LCMV is the common house mouse, Mus musculus. Infection in house mouse populations may vary by geographic location, though it is estimated that 5% of house mice throughout the United States carry LCMV and are able to transmit virus for the duration of their lives without showing any sign of illness. Other types of rodents, such as hamsters, are not the natural reservoirs but can become infected with LCMV from wild mice at the breeder, in the pet store, or home environment. Humans are more likely to contract LCMV from house mice, but infections from pet rodents have also been reported.
LCMV infections have been reported in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Japan, and may occur wherever infected rodent hosts of the virus are found. The disease has historically been underreported, often making it difficult to determine incidence rates or estimates of prevalence by geographic region. Several serologic studies conducted in urban areas have shown that the prevalence of LCMV antibodies in human populations range from 2% to 5%.
Additionally, pregnancy-related infection has been associated with congenital hydrocephalus, chorioretinitis, and mental retardation.