Lujo virus is an emerging arenavirus circulating in Southern Africa. Although to date there has only been a single outbreak of the novel haemorrhagic disease resulting from human infection with this virus, the case-fatality rate of exposed individuals, including nosocomial transmission, was 80%.The ability to identify viral haemorrhagic fevers accurately, especially those capable of nosocomial transmission, is of critical importance. Timely identification of these diseases allow medical professionals to isolate patients and implement barrier nursing techniques in order to prevent onward transmission of the virus. While rapid diagnostic methods are published for most viral haemorrhagic fevers, at present there are no such virus specific protocols for Lujo haemorrhagic fever.This report details the first set of diagnostic molecular assays designed to identify Lujo viral RNA rapidly, and demonstrates the potential functionality of these assays for use in the clinical setting. Although these assays have been designed and validated against a solitary isolate of Lujo virus, this represents the entirety of strains detected to date, and offer quick, cheap and easy methods for use in diagnostic laboratories.
- Diagnostic assay
- Real-time RT-PCR