Skip to Main Content

For further information, see CMDT Part 32-03: Other Neurotropic Viruses

Key Features

  • Arenavirus infection of CNS

  • Main reservoir is house mouse, but other animals may harbor virus

  • Virus is spread from animal to human by infected oronasal secretions, urine, or feces

  • Person-to-person spread is rare

  • However, vertical transmission is reported, and it is considered to be an underrecognized teratogen

Clinical Findings

  • Incubation period

    • 8–13 days to the appearance of systemic manifestations

    • 15–21 days to the appearance of meningeal symptoms

  • Symptoms are biphasic with a prodromal phase followed by a meningeal phase

  • Fever, chills, headache, myalgia, cough, and vomiting, occasionally with lymphadenopathy and maculopapular rash in prodromal phase

  • Headache, vomiting, lethargy, and variably present meningeal signs in the meningeal phase

  • Transverse myelitis, deafness, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and transient and permanent hydrocephalus are reported

  • Arthralgias can develop late

  • Infection is a well-known, albeit underrecognized, cause of congenital infection frequently complicated with obstructive hydrocephalus and chorioretinitis

  • Differential diagnosis

    • Other aseptic meningitides

    • Bacterial and granulomatous meningitis


  • Leukocytosis or leukopenia

  • Cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytic pleocytosis common

  • Complement-fixing antibodies appear during second week of infection and may aid in diagnosis

  • In fetuses and newborns with ventriculomegaly or other abnormal neuroimaging findings, screening for congenital lymphocytic choriomeningitis may be considered; mothers are asymptomatic half the time


  • No specific antiviral therapy

  • Supportive measures

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.