Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) is a non-enveloped, single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus belonging to the Cardiovirus genus within the family Picornaviridae. EMCV primarily infects rodents but can also cause disease in a wide range of animals, including pigs, primates, elephants, and occasionally humans.
In rodents, EMCV infection can result in encephalomyelitis, myocarditis, and reproductive disorders. The virus is transmitted mainly through ingestion of contaminated food or water, as well as via respiratory secretions and feces. Rodents, particularly rats and mice, serve as the primary reservoirs for the virus, which can be shed into the environment.
In pigs, EMCV can cause a range of clinical signs, including sudden death, fever, weakness, and respiratory distress. Myocarditis and reproductive failure, such as abortions and stillbirths, are also observed in infected pigs. Outbreaks of EMCV infection can lead to significant economic losses in the swine industry.
In non-human primates, EMCV can cause myocarditis, encephalitis, and sudden death. The virus has been implicated in several outbreaks in primate research facilities and zoos.
Human infections with EMCV are rare, but some cases of encephalitis, myocarditis, and flu-like illnesses have been reported. The risk of zoonotic transmission is considered low, and the clinical significance of EMCV infection in humans remains uncertain.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for EMCV infection. Management is primarily focused on supportive care and addressing the symptoms of the disease. Prevention of EMCV transmission involves controlling rodent populations, maintaining good hygiene practices, and implementing biosecurity measures in animal facilities.