Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus

Theiler's Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus

Theiler’s Murine Encephalomyelitis Virus (TMEV) is an infectious virus discovered in 1937 that attacks neurons and grey matter in murine species. As a Picornavirus TMEV shares a family with other viruses such as poliovirus, foot-and-mouth disease virus and rhinovirus. TMEV induces a biphasic disease in susceptible mouse strains. Acute infection in mice shows a distinct apoptosis of neurons in the grey matter. This pathogen is also commonly used as an experimental model for multiple sclerosis.
Most cases are administered in a lab as a model for multiple sclerosis. This, however, poses a risk of spreading infection from mouse to mouse via the fecal-oral route as well as contaminated equipment or personnel. The virus is extremely contagious among dense populations and caution must be exercised.


TMEV primarily affects infects the central nervous system. As a result, the outward appearing symptoms are similar to other CNS diseases like multiple sclerosis.  These may include:

  • Rapid encephalitis
  • Gait disturbance
  • Hind leg weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Death

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