SANTA ANA, August 4 The death of a 30-year-old Orange County woman is among three in California linked to an arenavirus that had never before been acquired by humans in North America, a health official said.
The virus is spread through the urine or
droppings of mice, rats and other rodents.
Tissue culture cell infected with an arenavirus.
The Arenaviridae are a family of viruses responsible for diseases such as hemorrhagic fevers. |
Rodents are their natural reservoir.
How the Arenavirus are Transmitted to Humans:
- Aerosol Transmission- Infection can occur by inhalation of tiny particles soiled with rodent urine or saliva. Aerosols arising from the shedding of virus-laden urine by infected rodents are believed to be the most important mode of transmission of arenaviruses. People have even been subjected to infection by entering a contaminated room.
- Rodent Droppings- It is possible that arenavirus in mice or rat droppings coming into contact with mucous membranes are infectious.
- Rodent Blood- Trapping rats or mice can cause blood to be lost from the animal and then become infectious to humans.
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, or LCM, is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that presents as aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the membrane, or meninges, that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges). Its causative agent is the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), an arenavirus.
Although LCMV is most commonly recognized as causing neurological disease, pregnancy-related infection has been associated with abortion, congenital hydrocephalus and chorioretinitis, and mental retardation.
LCMV is naturally spread by the common house mouse. Human become infected by inhaling infectious aerosolized particles of rodent urine, feces, or saliva, by ingesting food contaminated with virus, by contamination of mucus membranes with infected body fluids, or by directly exposing cuts or other open wounds to virus-infected blood. LCMV infection has also been documented among staff handling infected hamsters.
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