LCMV (Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus) is a virus that can cause infection in animals and humans. Wild mice can carry LCMV and infect pet rodents, such as hamsters, pet mice, and guinea pigs. People can be infected through contact with urine, blood, saliva, droppings, or nesting materials of infected rodents.
Examples of how a person can become infected include:
- Inhaling (breathing in) dust or droplets while sweeping up droppings from an infected rodent.
- Touching infected rodent urine or droppings and then touching your eyes or the inside of your nose or mouth.
- Being bitten by an infected rodent.
If a woman has an LCMV infection while pregnant the unborn baby can also become infected. LCMV infection can cause severe birth defects or loss of the pregnancy (miscarriage).
The risk of LCMV infection is low. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid contact with wild or pet rodents, such as hamsters, pet mice and guinea pigs.
To reduce the risk of LCMV infection during pregnancy:
- If there might be mice in your home, call a professional pest control company to control them or have someone else remove them.
- Avoid vacuuming or sweeping rodent urine, droppings, or nesting materials.
- Ask a friend or family member who does not live with in the house to care for pet rodents in his or her home while you are pregnant. If this is not possible, keep the pet rodent in a separate part of the home and have another family member or friend care for the pet and clean its cage. Avoid being in the same room where the rodent is kept.
- After contact with a wild rodent or its urine, droppings, or nesting materials, wash hands very well with soap and water afterwards.
Currently, there is no treatment available for LCMV infection. Pregnant women who have come in contact with a rodent, or have fever or other symptoms during pregnancy should contact the doctor.
A blood test is available to detect current or previous LCMV infection. Having had LCMV infection in the past is not a risk for current or future pregnancies.