The major natural reservoir of Junin virus, the aetiological agent of Argentine haemorrhagic fever, is the cricetid . Neonatal animals experimentally infected with Junin virus (XJCl strain) developed typical disease and approximately 80% of them died. Most survivors become persistently infected. Antigenically variant viruses were isolated from the blood and brain of infected cricetids during the acute and chronic stages of the disease. These variants could be distinguished from the parental strain by kinetic neutralization assays using polyclonal antibodies. Some biological properties were shared with the parental virus strain including its virulence for newborn . These variant viruses may play a major role in chronic disease since we have shown that a viral isolate from an infected brain was poorly neutralized by serum obtained from the same animal.


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