Lujo viral hemorrhagic fever: considering diagnostic capacity and preparedness in the wake of recent Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks

Rev Med Virol. 2016 Nov;26(6):446-454. doi: 10.1002/rmv.1903. Epub 2016 Sep 5.


Lujo virus is a novel Old World arenavirus identified in Southern Africa in 2008 as the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) characterized by nosocomial transmission with a high case fatality rate of 80% (4/5 cases). Whereas this outbreak was limited, the unprecedented Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, and recent Zika virus disease epidemic in the Americas, has brought into acute focus the need for preparedness to respond to rare but potentially highly pathogenic outbreaks of zoonotic or arthropod-borne viral infections. A key determinant for effective control of a VHF outbreak is the time between primary infection and diagnosis of the index case. Here, we review the Lujo VHF outbreak of 2008 and discuss how preparatory measures with respect to developing diagnostic capacity might be effectively embedded into existing national disease control networks, such as those for human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Keywords: Arenaviridae; Ebola virus disease; Lujo virus; Mammarenavirus; Zika virus; diagnostic capacity; lessons; preparedness; viral hemorrhagic fever.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Southern / epidemiology
  • Arenaviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Arenaviridae Infections / transmission
  • Arenaviridae Infections / virology
  • Civil Defense*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Cross Infection / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral / transmission
  • Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral / virology
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Lujo virus / isolation & purification*