Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis - LCM

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

Indications for Testing

Laboratory Testing

  • Antibody testing by complement fixation of serum and cerebrospinal fluid

Differential Diagnosis

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


  • Incidence – <5% seropositivity in U.S. adults
  • Transmission
    • Rodents are the primary reservoir
    • 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
    • Infection usually presents as an acute influenza-like illness
      • Most patients develop fevers of 101-104° F with chills and muscle rigidity
    • Other symptoms may include 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-negative hydrocephalus


  • Treatment is symptomatic
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 2016