In May of this year, four organ recipients, all from the same donor. died. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta later determined that they all died of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) that came from a pet hamster owned by the donor.
Subsequently, they found that large numbers of infected animals came from one particular supplier ..MidSouth Distributors of Ohio. Infected animals could have been shipped to the Norheast and Midwest states as early as February of this year. These infected animals could have spread LCMV to other animals at the stores to which they were sent ...as well as store staff and any buyers.
While it (LCMV) may have little or no effect on a healthy human.there are some sobering facts concering LCMV. First, there is no reliable test for it. Secondly, for pregnant women and the immune suppressed (HIV, organ recipients, etc) it can have devastating effects:
Originally Posted by CDC website
LCMV infection in humans with normal immune systems usually causes either asymptomatic or mild, self-limited illness. Aseptic meningitis also can occur in some patients, but the infection is rarely fatal (2). However, LCMV infection during the first or second trimester of pregnancy can cause severe illness or developmental defects in the fetus, including hydrocephalus, psychomotor retardation, blindness, and fetal death (3). The frequency with which developmental defects occur after in utero LCMV infection is not known. In addition, LCMV can be a serious infection in persons with impaired immune systems.
The entire article is at: CDC/MMWR Article on LCMV Associated With Pet Rodents
If you live in the midwest or the northeast, and have acquired a new rodent (particulary a mouse, guinea pig or hamster) from a pet store in the last year, I would at least read the whole article, and then think twice about exposure to any pregnant women or immune suppressed individuals.
Just something to think about...