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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.

Arena comes from the Latin root meaning sand.

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

  • Tacaribe virus (New World) complex:
    • Amapari virus
    • Flexal virus
    • Guanarito virus
    • Junin virus
    • Latino virus
    • Machupo virus
    • Oliveros virus
    • Paraná virus
    • Pichinde virus
    • Pirital virus
    • Sabiá virus
    • Tacaribe virus
    • Tamiami virus
    • Whitewater Arroyo virus

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. 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. It is this characteristic that gave them their name, derived from the Latin "arena," which means "sandy." Their genome, or genetic material, is composed of RNA only, and while their replication strategy is not completely understood, we know that new viral particles, called virions, are created by budding from the surface of their hosts’ cells.

Arenavirus diseases and vectors
Virus Disease Vector Distribution
Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus Lymphocytic choriomeningitis House mouse Worldwide
Lassa virus Lassa fever Rat (Mastomys natalensis) West Africa
Junin virus Argentine hemorrhagic fever Corn mouse (Calomys musculinus) Argentina
Machupo virus Bolivian hemorrhagic fever Vesper mouse (Calomys callosus) Bolivia
Guanarito virus Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever 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
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Arenavirus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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