Scientists discover new arenavirus associated with hemorrhagic fever

Apr 18, 2008

A team of Bolivian health authorities, U.S. Navy health experts based in Lima, Peru, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized “Chapare arenavirus,” a previously unrecognized arenavirus, discovered in serum samples from a patient in rural Bolivia who eventually died of the infection. A full report of the study is published April 18th in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens.

Named after the Chapare River in the eastern foothills of the Andes, the new Chapare arenavirus produces clinical hemorrhagic symptoms similar to those associated with other New World arenaviruses, such as the Junin, Machupo, Guanarito, and Sabia viruses. Genetically, however, Chapare is different from each.

Junin, Machupo and Guanarito viruses have been associated with large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever. Initial symptoms often include fever, malaise, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and anorexia, followed later by hemorrhagic symptoms. Untreated, more severe neurologic and/or hemorrhagic symptoms may develop, and death occurs in up to 30%.

In this study, the authors first tested for yellow fever and dengue hemorrhagic fevers, but results were negative. Tests for Machupo and other related viruses also were negative. Sequence analysis of specific segments of the virus later confirmed it as a unique member of the Clade B New World Arenaviruses.

Due to the remote nature of the region where the case occurred, only a limited description of a possible cluster of cases in the area was determined.

“Further surveillance and ecological investigations should clarify the nature of the health threat posed by the Chapare virus, and give us better information on the source of human infection,” says CDC virologist Tom Ksiazek of the Special Pathogens Branch.

“We need to learn more about this virus: how it is related to the other arenaviruses, how it causes disease, where it lives in nature,” says Ksiazek. “Together with our colleagues in Bolivia and Peru, we’re anticipating a more intensive investigation that improves our understanding of the virus, the disease it causes, and its ecology.”

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: WHO warns that Ebola crisis isn't over

Related Stories

What are extrasolar planets?

29 minutes ago

For countless generations, human beings have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our solar system, the true extent of the Milky ...

Rosetta's view of a comet's "great divide"

39 minutes ago

The latest image to be revealed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes from October 27, 2014, before the Philae lander even departed for its surface. Above we get a view of a dramatically-shadowed cliff ...

How long will our spacecraft survive?

49 minutes ago

There are many hazards out there, eager to disrupt and dismantle the mighty machines we send out into space. How long can they survive to perform their important missions?

Birds time breeding to hit 'peak caterpillar'

59 minutes ago

When oaks burst into life in spring populations of oak-leaf-eating caterpillars boom: this offers a food bonanza for caterpillar-munching birds looking to raise a family.

Recommended for you

WHO warns that Ebola crisis isn't over

17 minutes ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday warned against complacency about the deadly Ebola virus, saying that the crisis isn't over.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.