Imported Lassa Fever in Germany: Molecular Characterization of a New Lassa Virus Strain

Emerg Infect Dis. Sep-Oct 2000;6(5):466-76. doi: 10.3201/eid0605.000504.

Abstract

We describe the isolation and characterization of a new Lassa virus strain imported into Germany by a traveler who had visited Ghana, Côte D'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. This strain, designated "AV," originated from a region in West Africa where Lassa fever has not been reported. Viral S RNA isolated from the patient's serum was amplified and sequenced. A long-range reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction allowed amplification of the full-length (3.4 kb) S RNA. The coding sequences of strain AV differed from those of all known Lassa prototype strains (Josiah, Nigeria, and LP) by approximately 20%, mainly at third codon positions. Phylogenetically, strain AV appears to be most closely related to strain Josiah from Sierra Leone. Lassa viruses comprise a group of genetically highly diverse strains, which has implications for vaccine development. The new method for full-length S RNA amplification may facilitate identification and molecular analysis of new arenaviruses or arenavirus strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Lassa Fever / diagnosis
  • Lassa virus / classification
  • Lassa virus / genetics*
  • Lassa virus / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Travel*
  • Vero Cells

Substances

  • RNA, Viral