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Although this monograph primarily aims to describe arenaviruses and their infections it is appropriate to mention briefly the problems of safety and containment allied to the handling of certain arenaviruses pathogenic for man. In particular, transmission of arenaviruses may occur via the generation of aerosols, and the avoidance of contamination of mucosal surfaces, skin and clothing of workers handling potentially positive clinical specimens is one of the major principles in biological containment.

1 979) reported that the titre of immunofluorescent antibodies increased from the 12th to the 20th day of illness. The specificity of the reactions were confirmed by prior blocking with spleen extracts prepared from infected guinea pigs. Specific immunoglobulin detected in the first positive serial specimen was determined as predominant IgG and IgM. However, in three cases IgA and IgM was detected and IgA in a further two patients. This finding of specific IgA has not been confirmed by other workers, but is of interest considering thc tropism for cells of the lymphatic system exhibited by Junin virus.

Goldwasser et al. (1980) found that up to 43% of sera collected during a survey of hospital staff from Sierra Leone gave positive haemagglutination inhibition reactions using partially purified antigen as an antigen source. This contrasted to 20% and 30% positive reactions recorded with the same panel using immunofluorescence and radioimmunoassay respectively. However, the authors point out that this test was approximately of the same sensitivity for detecting antibodies during acute infection.

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