Genetic detection and characterization of Lujo virus, a new hemorrhagic fever-associated arenavirus from southern Africa

PLoS Pathog. 2009 May;5(5):e1000455. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000455. Epub 2009 May 29.


Lujo virus (LUJV), a new member of the family Arenaviridae and the first hemorrhagic fever-associated arenavirus from the Old World discovered in three decades, was isolated in South Africa during an outbreak of human disease characterized by nosocomial transmission and an unprecedented high case fatality rate of 80% (4/5 cases). Unbiased pyrosequencing of RNA extracts from serum and tissues of outbreak victims enabled identification and detailed phylogenetic characterization within 72 hours of sample receipt. Full genome analyses of LUJV showed it to be unique and branching off the ancestral node of the Old World arenaviruses. The virus G1 glycoprotein sequence was highly diverse and almost equidistant from that of other Old World and New World arenaviruses, consistent with a potential distinctive receptor tropism. LUJV is a novel, genetically distinct, highly pathogenic arenavirus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Southern / epidemiology
  • Arenaviridae Infections / mortality
  • Arenaviridae Infections / transmission
  • Arenaviridae Infections / virology
  • Arenaviruses, Old World / genetics*
  • Arenaviruses, Old World / isolation & purification*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cross Infection
  • Genetic Speciation*
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Viral Proteins


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins