Arenaviruses can infect a variety of mammals, including humans, but they usually have a principal rodent host (except for Tacaribe virus isolated from bats). The virus is maintained in nature by persistently infected animals. The prototype of arenaviruses is lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus or LCMV (originally, there were two isolates, one from a monkey and one from a human), which can infect primates, and of which the principal reservoir is the house mouse. The other pathogens are Lassa virus (in West Africa) and the viruses of the Tacaribe complex (Tamiami, Junin, Machupo, and Pichinde viruses, isolated in Florida and South America). Lassa, Junin, and Machupo viruses cause severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fevers in humans (Pedersen, 1979; Rawls and Leung, 1979; Howard and Simpson, 1980). It is well-established that LCM is an immunopathological disease (Buchmeier et al, 1980), while the mechanisms of pathogenesis by Lassavirus and the hemorrhagic fever agents are still unclear.
KeywordsNegative Strand Major Structural Protein Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Lassa Virus Envelope Spike
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