Bolivian haemorrhagic fever (BHF) caused by Machupo virus is acquired by contact with the excretions and secretions of Calomys callosus, an indigenous cricetine rodent which is preadapted to peridomestic habitats. It competes successfully with Mus musculus, but not with Rattus rattus. A successful disease control programme has functioned in Beni Department since 1964. It is based on trapping surveys and the detection of splenomegaly in Calomys rodents as an index of chronic virus infection. Mass trapping and poisoning are used initially, and regular trapping is employed to control Calomys populations in towns where disease has occurred. More than 1000 cases of BHF were recorded from 1960-1964, but less than 200 in the past 10 years. The cost of this programme is approximately $30 000 annually.