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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2012 Sep;19(3):89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2012.02.002.

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus: an underrecognized cause of neurologic disease in the fetus, child, and adult.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child Neurology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) is an important cause of neurologic disease in humans. Carried and secreted principally by wild mice, LCMV covers a large geographic range and infects great numbers of people. Humans acquire LCMV disease when they come into contact with the secretions of infected mice. Because it has a strong neurotropism, the clinical signs and symptoms of LCMV infection are mostly neurologic. When the virus is acquired postnatally by children or adults, the clinical manifestations are usually those of aseptic meningitis. Most people who acquire LCMV infection during childhood or adulthood are moderately symptomatic for several weeks, but have a full recovery. A much more severe disease ensues when the infection occurs prenatally. LCMV can infect the fetal brain and retina, where it leads to substantial injury and permanent dysfunction. The possibility of LCMV infection should be considered in all babies with evidence of congenital infection, especially those with prominent neurologic signs, such as microencephaly, periventricular calcifications, and hydrocephalus.

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