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Antiviral Res. 2003 Jan;57(1-2):89-100.

Arenaviruses other than Lassa virus.

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Unité des Virus Emergents, EA 3292, IRD-UR 034, IFR 48, Faculté de Médecine, 27 boulevard Jean Moulin, Marseille 13005, France.


The family Arenaviridae includes 23 viral species, of which 5 can cause viral hemorrhagic fevers with a case fatality rate of about 20%. These five viruses are Junin, Machupo, Guanarito, Sabia and Lassa virus, the manipulation of which requires biosafety level 4 facilities. They are included in the Category A Pathogen List established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that groups agents with the greatest potential for adverse public health impact and mass casualties whether a situation characterized by a ill-intentioned abuse of natural or engineered arenavirus would be encountered. The aims of this article are to (i) summarize the current situation; (ii) provide information to help anticipating the effects to be expected in such a situation; and to (iii) emphasize the need for fundamental research to allow the development of diagnostic, prevention and therapeutic tools as countermeasures to weaponized arenaviruses.

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