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Lujo virus: Wikis


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Lujo is a RNA virus and a member of the Arenaviridae. Its name was coined from the first two letters of the names of the cities it has been found, Lusaka and Johannesburg.



It was first described in 2009 during an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever in Zambia.[1] The first case was noticed in a female travel agent who lived in the outskirts of Lusaka. She suffered from fever-like illness, which grew worse with time. She was taken to Johannesburg. The paramedic who had nursed her in Lusaka died of the infection and the health care workers who were taking care of the female and the paramedic also got infected.[2]

The virus was genetically identified as an entirely new arenavirus with the help of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and W. Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York.


To date this virus has only been reported from Zambia and later spread to healthcare workers in South Africa from contact with victims.


Sequencing of the viral genome has shown that this virus belongs to the Old World arenavirus group. Comparisons with other viral genome sequences showed that this virus is equidistant from other Old World and New World arenaviruses. It is distantly similar to the Lassa fever virus.


This virus has been associated with an outbreak of five cases of viral haemorrhagic fever in September 2008.[3] In four cases (80% of total known infections) the infection was fatal. The fifth case was treated with ribavirin, an Antiviral drug which is effective in treating Lassa fever, and survived; however, ribavirin's effectiveness against Lujo virus remains unknown.


  1. ^ Briese, T.; et al. (2009). "Genetic Detection and Characterization of Lujo Virus, a New Hemorrhagic Fever–Associated Arenavirus from Southern Africa". PLoS Pathogens 4 (5): e1000455. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000455.  
  2. ^
  3. ^ Scientists identify new lethal virus in Africa

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