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Lassa virus virions
Virus classification
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)
Family: Arenaviridae
Genus: Arenavirus

Arenavirus is a genus of virus. The type species is Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV); it also includes the species responsible for Lassa fever.



Viewed in cross-section, they show grainy particles that are ribosomes acquired from their host cells. It is from this characteristic that they acquired the name Arena which comes from the Latin root meaning sand.




Arenaviruses can be divided into two serogroups, which differ genetically and by geographical distribution:[1]


The virus particles are spherical and have an average diameter of 110-130 nanometers. All are enveloped in a lipid membrane. Viewed in cross-section, they show grainy particles that are ribosomes acquired from their host cells.


Their genome, or genetic material, is composed of RNA only, and while their replication strategy is not completely understood, it is known that new viral particles, called virions, are created by budding from the surface of their hosts’ cells. The RNA is in two segments, denoted L and S. Both are circular but the L strand is negative sense and the S strand is ambisense. The S strand codes for the nucleoprotein and glycoproteins. The nucleoproteins are transcribed directly from the ambisense S strand, the glycoproteins are transcribed from a full length template of the genome[2].

Viral reservoir

Some arenaviruses are zoonotic pathogens and are generally associated with rodent—transmitted disease in humans. Each virus usually is associated with a particular rodent host species in which it is maintained.



Arenavirus diseases and vectors
Virus Disease Vector Distribution
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus Lymphocytic choriomeningitis House mouse (Mus musculus) Worldwide
Lassa virus Lassa fever Natal Multimammate Mouse (Mastomys natalensis) West Africa
Junin virus Argentine hemorrhagic fever Drylands Vesper Mouse (Calomys musculinus) Argentina
Machupo virus Bolivian hemorrhagic fever Large Vesper Mouse (Calomys callosus) Bolivia
Guanarito virus Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever Short-tailed Cane Mouse (Zygodontomys brevicauda) Venezuela
Sabiá virus Brazilian hemorrhagic fever Unknown Brazil
Tacaribe virus Bat (Artibeus) Trinidad
Flexal virus Influenza-like illness Rice rat (Oryzomys) Brazil
Whitewater Arroyo virus Hemorrhagic fever Woodrat (Neotoma) Southwestern USA

Recent outbreaks

A new species of arenavirus named the Lujo virus has been linked to five patients who exhibited symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever in South Africa.[3] The disease originated near Lusaka, Zambia and spread to Johannesburg, South Africa, after the first patient was transported to a hospital there. The results of genetic sequencing tests conducted by epidemiologists at Columbia University in New York CIty, USA, and at the Special Pathogens Branch of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, USA, provided evidence that the causative agent of the disease is a virus from the Arenaviridae family, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of four out of the five infected in Zambia and South Africa during the outbreak which began in September 2008.

WHO and its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) partners continue to support the Ministries of Health of the two countries in various facets of the outbreak investigation, including laboratory diagnosis, investigations, active case finding and follow-up of contacts.[4]




External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a taxonomic genus, within family Arenaviridae - the arenaviruses
Wikispecies has information on:


See also

  • Awaiting species information


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Regnum: Virus
Phylum: not divided
Classis: not divided
Ordo: Unassigned
Familia: Arenaviridae
Genus: Arenavirus
Species: Allpaahuayo virus, Amapari virus, Bear Canyon virus, Cupixi virus, Flexal virus, Guanarito virus, Ippy virus, Junín virus, Lassa virus, Latino virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Machupo virus, Mobala virus, Mopeia virus, Oliveros virus, Paraná virus, Pichinde virus, Pirital virus, Sabiá virus, Tacaribe virus, Tamiami virus, Whitewater Arroyo virus


Catalogue of Life: 2009 Annual Checklist [1]


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