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By Colin R. Howard, Howard

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In addition to the need for isolation of suspected and confirmed cases, other pathogens may induce a disease pattern similar to Lassa fever which may complicate clinical diagnosis. These include yellow fever, typhoid and malaria (Monath, 1973). Owing to the very high levels of virus present in the blood during the acute illness, isolation of virus is feasible by direct inoculation into Vero cell cultures. , 1975). , 1972). The cytopathology is characterized by the rapid development of necrotic foci which eventually results in complete destruction of the cell monolayer within one week.

Indeed, this agent would not have been detected without the use of suckling hamsters, and this raises the possibility that many other arenaviruses await to be characterized. The anomaly among the arenaviruses is the natural history of Tacaribe virus, this being the only member of the family to be isolated from a non-rodent source. The virus was isolated by the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory from two species of bat (Artibeus lituratus and A. , 1963). The first strain, designated TRVL 11573, was obtained from the brain of an animal caught in the Port of Spain, and subsequent isolations were all made from either brain or salivary gland homogenates, although one strain, number 13537, was made from a pool of mosquitoes collected in the forested region to the east of Trinidad.

1980). In man, complement-fixing (CF) antibodies are seen from one week after onset of illness, reaching a maximum by 6-8 weeks in the majority of cases. CF antibody levels then decline rapidly to disappear within 6 months (Smadel and Wall, 1940). The relatively short time course of C F antibody presence as compared to neutralizing antibody is therefore of some diagnostic value, with a positive result indicating ongoing or recent LCM infection (Rasmussen, 1947), although in some cases CF antibody may persist.

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