LCMV infection can be prevented by avoiding contact with wild mice and taking precautions when handling pet rodents (i.e. mice, hamsters, or guinea pigs).
Rarely, pet rodents may become infected with LCMV from wild rodents. Breeders, pet stores, and pet owners should take measures to prevent infestations of wild rodents. Pet rodents should not come into contact with wild rodents. If you have a pet rodent, wash your hands with soap and water (or waterless alcohol-based hand rubs when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled) after handling rodents or their cages and bedding.
If you have a rodent infestation in and around your home, take the following precautions to reduce the risk of LCMV infection:
- Seal up rodent entry holes or gaps with steel wool, lath metal, or caulk.
- Trap rats and mice by using an appropriate snap trap.
- Clean up rodent food sources and nesting sites and take precautions when cleaning rodent-infected areas:
- Use cross-ventilation when entering a previously unventilated enclosed room or dwelling prior to cleanup.
- Put on rubber, latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves.
- Do not stir up dust by vacuuming, sweeping, or any other means.
- Thoroughly wet contaminated areas with a bleach solution or household disinfectant.
- Hypochlorite (bleach) solution: Mix 1 and 1/2 cups of household bleach in 1 gallon of water.
- Once everything is wet, take up contaminated materials with damp towel and then mop or sponge the area with bleach solution or household disinfectant.
- Spray dead rodents with disinfectant and then double-bag along with all cleaning materials and throw bag out in an appropriate waste disposal system.
- Remove the gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water (or waterless alcohol-based hand rubs when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled).
The geographic distributions of the rodent hosts are widespread both domestically and abroad. However, infrequent recognition and diagnosis, and historic underreporting of LCM, have limited scientists' ability to estimate incidence rates and prevalence of disease among humans. Understanding the epidemiology of LCM and LCMV infections will help to further delineate risk factors for infection and develop effective preventive strategies. Increasing physician awareness will improve disease recognition and reporting, which may lead to better characterization of the natural history and the underlying immunopathological mechanisms of disease, and stimulate future therapeutic research and development.