Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus meningitis after needlestick injury

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We report of a case of LCMV meningitis in a laboratory worker who sustained a penetrating needlestick injury with a LCMV-contaminated hollow needle whilst disposing of a used syringe into the sharps waste bin” Dräger et al (2019).

Abstract:

Background: Needlestick accidents while handling of infectious material in research laboratories can lead to life-threatening infections in laboratory personnel. In laboratories working with the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), the virus can be transmitted to humans through needlestick injury and lead to serious acute illness up to meningitis.

Case presentation: We report of a case of LCMV meningitis in a laboratory worker who sustained a penetrating needlestick injury with a LCMV-contaminated hollow needle whilst disposing of a used syringe into the sharps waste bin. Four days after needlestick injury the laboratory worker developed a systemic disease: 11 days after exposure, she was diagnosed with meningitis with clinical signs and symptoms of meningismus, photophobia, nausea and vomiting, requiring hospitalisation. The PCR was positive for LCMV from the blood sample. 18 days after exposure, seroconversion confirmed the diagnosis of LCMV-induced meningitis with an increase in specific LCMV-IgM antibodies to 1:10′240 (day 42: 1:20′480). Ten weeks after exposure, a follow-up titre for IgM returned negative, whereas IgG titre increased to 1:20′480.

Conclusions: This is the first case report of a PCR-documented LCMV meningitis, coupled with seroconversion, following needlestick injury. It highlights the importance of infection prevention practices that comprise particularly well established safety precaution protocols in research laboratories handling this pathogenic virus, because exposure to even a small amount of LCMV can lead to a severe, life-threatening infection.

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Reference:

Dräger, S., Marx, A-F., Pigny, F., Cherpillod, P., Eisermann, P., Sendi, P. and Widmer, A.F. (2019) Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus meningitis after needlestick injury: a case report. May 20th. . Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-019-0524-4.

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