Ecology of Lassa Virus

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2023;440:67-86. doi: 10.1007/82_2020_231.


Individuals living in endemic hotspots of Lassa fever have recurrent exposure to Lassa virus (LASV) via spillover from the primary host reservoir Mastomys natalensis. Despite M. natalensis being broadly distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, Lassa fever is only found in West Africa. In recent years, new LASV reservoirs have been identified. Erudition of rodent habitats, reproduction and fecundity, movement patterns, and spatial preferences are essential to institute preventative measures against Lassa fever. Evolutionary insights have also added to our knowledge of closely related mammarenavirus distribution amongst rodents throughout the continent.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Lassa Fever* / epidemiology
  • Lassa virus / genetics
  • Murinae
  • Rodent Diseases* / epidemiology