Junin virus

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Junin virus
Virus classification
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)
Family: Arenaviridae
Genus: Arenavirus

Junin virus

The Junin virus or Junín virus is an arenavirus that causes Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF). The virus takes its name from the city of Junín, around which the first cases of infection were reported, in 1958.

Morphology and genome structure[edit]

The Junin virus[1] is a negative sense ssRNA enveloped virion with a variable diameter between 50 and 300 nm. The surface of the particle encompasses a layer of T-shaped glycoproteins, each extending up to 10 nm outwards from the envelope, which are important in mediating attachment and entry into host cells.

The Junin virus genome is composed of two single-stranded RNA molecules, each encoding two different genes in an ambisense orientation. The two segments are termed 'short (S)' and 'long (L)' owing to their respective lengths. The short segment (around 3400 nucleotides in length) encodes the nucleocapsid protein and the glycoprotein precursor (GPC). The GPC is subsequently cleaved to form two viral glycoproteins, GP1 and GP2, which ultimately form the T-shaped glycoprotein spike which extends outwards from the viral envelope. [1]. The long segment (around 7200 nucleotides in length) encodes the viral polymerase and a zinc-binding protein. The virus is spread by rodents.

Epidemiology and disease[edit]

A member of the genus Arenavirus, Junin virus characteristically causes Argentine hemorrhagic fever (AHF). AHF leads to severe compromise of the vascular, neurological and immune systems and has a mortality rate between 20 and 30%.[2] Symptoms of the disease are conjunctivitis, purpura, petechia and occasionally sepsis. The symptoms of the disease can be confusing; the condition can be mistaken for a different one, especially during the first week when it can resemble a flu.

Since the discovery of the Junin virus in 1958, the geographical distribution of the pathogen, although still confined to Argentina, has expanded. At the time of discovery, Junin virus was confined to an area of around 15,000 km². At the beginning of 2000, the region with reported cases grew to around 150,000 km². The natural hosts of Junin virus are rodents, particularly Mus musculus, Calomys spp. and Akodon azarae. Direct rodent-to-human transmission only takes place when a person makes direct contact with the excrement of an infected rodent; this can occur by ingestion of contaminated food or water, inhalation of particles in urine or direct contact of an open wound with rodent feces.

Prevention and control[edit]

A investigational new drug (in US) vaccine (Candid1[3] ) was developed at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease (USAMRIID)[4] at Ft. Detrick, MD in the last 1980s which has shown to be safe, well tolerated and effective in reducing mortality and morbidity due to AHF.[5] [6][7][8]


  1. ^ "Junin virus". 
  2. ^ Rebecca Wattam (2004). "Junin Virus". Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech. 
  3. ^ Goñi, SE. "Genomic features of attenuated Junín virus vaccine strain candidate.". 
  4. ^ McKee, Kelly (1993). "Safety and Immunogenicity of a Live-Attenuated Junin (Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever) Vaccine in Rhesus Monkeys" (PDF). American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 
  5. ^ Enria, D. A.; Oro, J. G. Barrera (2002). "Junin Virus Vaccines" 263. pp. 239–261. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-56055-2_12. ISSN 0070-217X. 
  6. ^ Enria D.A., Barrera Oro J.G. (2002). "Junin Virus Vaccines." (PDF). Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. 
  7. ^ Peters C.J., Buchmeir M, Rollin Pierre E, Ksiazek Thomas G (1996). Arenaviruses. Field's Virology Third Edition. 
  8. ^ Maiztegui JI et a (1998). "Protective Efficacy of a Live Attenuated Vaccine against Argentine Hemorrhagic Fever" (PDF). The Journal of Infectious Diseases.