Lujo virus is a RNA virus or a new member of the Arenaviridae family, it was the first hemorrhagic fever associated arenaviridae discovered three decades from The Old World. The lujo virus was found during a nosocomial transmission outbreak which was isolated in South Africa. The lujo virus is known to cause Viral hemorrhagic fever. The lujo virus is genetically distinct and is not identical with the Old World or New World arenavirus. The lujo virus is very similar to the lassa virus in that both are contracted from rodents in West Africa.
People usually contract the lujo virus by coming in contact with rodent waste mainly through dust or food contaminated with material that has the virus on it.What is Arenavirus?Arenaviruses causes infection in rodents and humans contract it through rodent’s waste, mainly urine. There are several viral species and some arenaviruses discovered recently which are still being studied.
One of the firsts cases was in 1934 involving monkeys and human waste come into the possession of infections in a documented encephalitis. It was also a cause of aseptic meningitis in humans. Arenaviruses are divided in groups depending of if they were found in the eastern hemisphere or western hemisphere. The lujo virus is mainly an Old World Virus (eastern hemisphere).
Cases of Lujo Virus: Lujo virus was first identified in 2008 after a small outbreak of severe hemorrhagic fever in Africa. This disease has a mortality rate of 80%, four out of five patients who contracted the disease died from it. The first patient who contracted the lujo virus was transported by air from Lusaka, Zambia, to a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This is geographic beginning of the lujo virus name. The patient then died twelve days after the first sign of symptoms. The second case was a paramedic who helped in the flight from Zambia to Johannesburg. The third case was an intensive care nurse who helped the first patient in the hospital in Johannesburg. Case number four was a person who cleaned the hospital room after the first patient passed away. Case number five was also a nurse who helped the paramedic in the second case when he was transferred from Zambia to Sandton.
So of the four individuals who came into contact with the original lujo virus patient or the second patient, 3 died from the contact.Research on Lujo Virus:Guinea pigs provide a relevant model for animals as they usually develop a fatal disease characterized by fever, anorexia (loss of appetite for food), myocarditis 2(inflammation of the heart muscle), and frank hemorrhage (rectal bleeding). Still, little is known regarding the ecology(Branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to on another and to their physical surroundings), pathogenesis( the manner of development of a disease), or immunology (The branch of medicine and biology concerned with immunity) of the Lujo virus infection.What Does Lujo Virus Do To Your Body?The lujo virus comes on very suddenly with symptoms that did include a rash, central nervous system symptoms and bleeding diathesis.
It also has symptoms of hemorrhagic fever. People who are from areas where this virus might be common should be tested for it if they have low platelet counts along with elevated liver enzymes.How can you diagnose Lujo Virus?The lujo virus can be diagnosed through the testing of blood, anytime after two days of getting the disease.
After death, tests can be done on liver tissue to diagnose the virus. Possible Uses of the Lujo VirusThis virus can be distributed not only through rodent waste, but through an aerosol matter too. That means that the lujo virus could be used as a weapon in a disease warfare manner.
Some say that the length of time it takes to contract and then diagnose this disease would be too long for warfare. However, that could be a positive reason to use this virus, because it could be hard to trace it back to a specific event that could have started the epidemic. Also, after the first wave of the virus being spread through the air, people could only spread the lujo virus through bodily fluids, so once that happens the lujo virus could be stopped by using some serious precautions.