Introduction. Arenaviruses are a group of enveloped, single-stranded RNA viruses. Nearly all of the 12 members so far described cause acute or persistent infections of rodents. Certain arenaviruses also cause severe haemorrhagic disease in man, notably Lassa, Machupo and Junin. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCM), the prototype of the family, has been implicated in cases of aseptic meningitis since its original description in 1934, although these have been largely laboratory-acquired infections. Acute haemorrhagic disease due to Machupo and Junin viruses represent serious public health problems in Bolivia and Argentina respectively and Lassa virus has achieved public notoriety owing to its association with severe febrile illness among missionaries and travellers returning from rural parts of West Africa. All the evidence so far available suggests that the morbidity of Lassa and South American haemorrhagic arenavirus infections result from the direct cytolytic action of these agents. This is in sharp contrast to the immunopathological basis of ‘classical’ LCM disease as studied in adult mice.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error