Prevalence of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Infection in a Human Population of Argentina

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  • Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Virales Humanas, Pergamino, Argentina

The activity of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in the endemic area of Argentine hemorrhagic fever has been previously reported and represents the first evidence of the coexistence of two arenaviruses pathogenic for humans, Junin and LCMV, in the same geographic area. Data are presented on the prevalence of LCMV human infection in a 10,000-km2 area located in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. Study subjects were males, 15–65 years old, living and/or working in the rural area of 41 localities. One serum sample was obtained from each of 7,227 volunteers from a total population of 21,340 individuals with the described features. Antibodies to LCMV were assessed by means of an indirect immunofluorescence assay. These antibodies were found in 172 serum samples, with titers ranging from 1:8 to 1:128 (geometric mean titer = 15.03), and a mean percentage of infection of 2.38%. A significantly different distribution of positive individuals was found between the eastern (1.54%) and western (3.07%) borders of the region studied (P < 0.0003). The higher percentage of infection on the western side was due to the existence of two clusters of counties with a mean percentage of 6.06% that was significantly different from the 1.67% obtained in the rest of the study area (P < 0.0003). These results provide new information on the LCMV activity in Argentina, and update the evidence on the coexistence of two arenaviruses in the same region of Argentina. This circumstance increases the probability of generation of viral reassortants with changes that could determine the need for new therapeutic and/or preventive strategies for arenaviral diseases.

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