Lassa virus

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2004;41(4):339-90. doi: 10.1080/10408360490497456.


Lassa virus is a RNA virus belonging to the family of Arenaviridae. It was discovered as the causative agent of a hemorrhagic fever--Lassa fever--about 30 years ago. Lassa fever is endemic in West Africa and is estimated to affect some 100,000 people annually. Great progress in the understanding of the life cycle of arenaviruses, including Lassa virus, has been made in recent years. New insights have been gained in the pathogenesis and molecular epidemiology of Lassa fever, and state-of the-art technologies for diagnosing this life-threatening disease have been developed. The intention of this review is to summarize in particular the recent literature on Lassa virus and Lassa fever. Several aspects ranging from basic research up to clinical practice and laboratory diagnosis are discussed and linked together.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Genetic Variation
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lassa Fever / epidemiology
  • Lassa Fever / etiology*
  • Lassa Fever / immunology
  • Lassa Fever / therapy*
  • Lassa virus / pathogenicity*
  • Lassa virus / physiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Viral Proteins / physiology
  • Viral Vaccines


  • Glycoproteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Vaccines