Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis - LCM

Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM) virus is spread by rodents. It can be deadly to immunocompromised patients but rarely affects healthy individuals.

  • Diagnosis
  • Background
  • Lab Tests
  • References
  • Related Topics

Indications for Testing

Immunocompromised patient with influenza-like illness and associated meningitis

Laboratory Testing

Antibody testing by complement fixation of serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Differential Diagnosis


  • Incidence – <5% seropositivity in U.S. adults
  • Transmission
    • Primary reservoir – rodents
    • Transmission to humans
      • Aerosolization of excreta and secreta of the common house mouse, pet hamster, and pet rat
      • Recent reports of solid organ transplant transmission


RNA virus in the Arenaviridae family

Risk Factors

  • Immunocompromised state
  • Pregnancy

Clinical Presentation

  • Symptoms develop 5-10 days after exposure
    • Presents as an acute influenza-like illness – fever of 101-104° F with chills and muscle rigidity
    • Other symptoms – malaise, retro-orbital headache, photophobia, weakness, anorexia, nausea, light-headedness, and sore throat
  • Symptoms usually improve within 5 days to 3 weeks
  • Patients may suffer relapse with meningeal symptoms
  • Suspect in patients with marked leukopenia and thrombocytopenia on presentation
  • Associated conditions – orchitis, aseptic meningitis, transient alopecia, and maculopapular rash
  • Congenital infections may cause stillbirths – hydrocephalus, chorioretinitis, or TORCH (toxoplasmosis, other, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus)-negative hydrocephalus
Tests generally appear in the order most useful for common clinical situations. Click on number for test-specific information in the ARUP Laboratory Test Directory.

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) Virus Antibodies, IgG & IgM 2001635
Method: Semi-Quantitative Indirect Fluorescent Antibody

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) Virus Antibodies, IgG & IgM, CSF 2001628
Method: Semi-Quantitative Indirect Fluorescent Antibody

General References

Jamieson DJ, Kourtis AP, Bell M, Rasmussen SA. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus: an emerging obstetric pathogen? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006; 194(6): 1532-6. PubMed

Kang SS, McGavern DB. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis infection of the central nervous system. Front Biosci. 2008; 13: 4529-43. PubMed

Kotton CN. Zoonoses in solid-organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Clin Infect Dis. 2007; 44(6): 857-66. PubMed

Rawlinson WD, Hall B, Jones CA, Jeffery HE, Arbuckle SM, Graf N, Howard J, Morris JM. Viruses and other infections in stillbirth: what is the evidence and what should we be doing? Pathology. 2008; 40(2): 149-60. PubMed

Medical Reviewers

Last Update: October 2017