Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, Yale University School of Medicine, Disease Assessment Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Hygiene, Ministry of Health and Social Assistance, New Haven, Connecticut, Venezuela
This paper characterizes Guanarito virus, the etiologic agent of Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever. Based on its morphology and antigenic properties, Guanarito virus appears to be a new member of the Tacaribe complex of the genus Arenavirus, family Arenaviridae. Complement fixation and indirect fluorescent antibody tests showed that Guanarito virus and its antiserum are broadly cross-reactive with other members of the Tacaribe complex, but it can be differentiated from other members of the complex by neutralization test. Guanarito virus causes mortality in suckling mice and adult guinea pigs, but not in adult mice. Inoculated rhesus monkeys developed viremia and became ill; however, they subsequently recovered and responded with production of antibody. To date, all isolates of Guanarito virus have come from sick persons or wild rodents living within a single geographic focus in the central plains of Venezuela.