Hemorrhage in patients with Lassa fever is associated with the presence of a circulating plasma inhibitor of platelet aggregation. This study was to determine whether patients with Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF) develop a similar inhibitor. Normal platelets showed significantly weaker aggregation responses to a sub-maximal dose of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) when mixed with plasma from 10 patients with AHF (mean percent of control ± 1 SE = 57.2 ± 6.7%) compared to those mixed with plasma from 9 viral control patients (79.5 ± 4.1%; P < 0.05) and 9 febrile patients with septicemia (103.8 ± 3%; P < 0.001). Plasma from 3 patients with severe AHF inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion the aggregation responses of normal platelets to collagen, sodium arachidonate, a calcium ionophore (A23187), and ristocetin; none of 4 samples from convalescent AHF patients showed this inhibitory activity. The platelet inhibition was sudden in onset and unaffected by a 30 min pre-incubation, not neutralized by convalescent plasma with high titer antibody to Junin virus, and abolished after heating plasma from an AHF patient at 56°C for 30 min. Hemorrhage in AHF is associated with the presence of a circulating inhibitor of platelet aggregation, and disturbed hemostasis in arenavirus-induced hemorrhagic fevers may have a common basis.