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Arenavirus

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Summary

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Key Points

  • Arenaviruses
    • Characteristics
      • RNA viruses
        • replicate in the cytoplasm of cells
        • Single-stranded
        • + and - sense
        • Circular
        • 2 segments
      • Enveloped
      • Helical capsid
    • Presentation
      • LCV (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus)
        • Transmission
          • Exposure to infected hamsters or mice (rodents)
          • Does not spread person to person
        • Presentation
          • mild systemic flu-like illness
          • febrile aseptic meningoencephalitis
      • Lassa fever encephalitis
        • Transmission
          • Spread by rodents
          • Endemic in W. Africa
        • Pathogenesis
          • infects dendritic cells/macrophages and disseminates throughout the body
          • replication in endothelial cells causes capillary leak and hemorrhage
        • Presentation
          • Non-specific nausea/vomiting, headache, malaise, diarrhea
          • High fever
          • Generalized maculopapular rash
          • Hemorrhage from eyes, nose, mouth
        • Diagnosis
          • RT-PCR or ELISA (anti-Lassa antibodies) is gold-standard
        • Treatment
          • Supportive care
          • Ribavirin may be used