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1983a) have described an experimental radioimmunoassay system that would also be easily transposed into a system suitable for epidemiological studies. The format consisted of a sandwich-type of immunoradiometric assay using an immune serum from hamsters and the antigen was added directly. Bound antigen was subsequently detected by addition of radiolabelled antiviral IgG. This assay could be readily modified for the detection of viral antibody in test specimens by competition for the labelled lg and after appropriate standardization of the antigen source.

The first strain, designated TRVL 11573, was obtained from the brain of an animal caught in the Port of Spain, and subsequent isolations were all made from either brain or salivary gland homogenates, although one strain, number 13537, was made from a pool of mosquitoes collected in the forested region to the east of Trinidad. Yet in this study, no evidence was found of Tacaribe virus infection in any of 2000 species of indigenous mammals, mainly rodents, examined during a period of 7 years. As these species of bats are not carnivores, the possibility of the virus having been acquired by the hunting of small mammals is unlikely, although the possibility that virus spread resulted from contact with rodents sharing a similar nomadic habit cannot be excluded.

Interestingly, antibodies could not be detected in the small number of sera from patients who succumbed to the infection, although a high titre of circulating virus presumably could interfere with antibody detection in such cases. 0W s 0 10 20 30 40 50 DAY POST INFECTION 60 70 Fig. 1. , 1982b). IgG (0-0) and IgM (A-A) responses develop during vicaemia ( 0 - - - O ) . 34 authors concluded that substances which could give rise to false positive IgM reactions are not regularly produced in Lassa virus infections.

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