Arthi Chakravarthy

Humans and Viruses
Human Biology 115A
Winter, 1999
Robert Siegel, instructor

Historical Notes Concerning Bunyaviridae

This web page will give you a sense of the history behind Bunyaviridae, including important epidemics and crucial discoveries.

960 A.D.

The Chinese are thought the first to have recognized Hanta Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS).

Napoleonic Wars

Soldiers suffered from an epidemic of febrile illness. At the time it was not realized what the disease was, but the symptoms that were described are similar to sandfly fever.


R. Doerr et al. determined that a filterable agent was responsible for sandfly fever. It was also determined that the disease could be transmitted through the bite of the sandfly (Phlebotomus papatasii).


In the Western world, HFRS was first noted by Soviet workers.

World War II

1000 cases of HFRS were recorded among Finnish and German troops. In 1945, the disease was termed "nephropathia epidemica" by doctors.


Scientists in Russia and Japan independently described the infectious and viral etiology of HFRS.


Smithburn and colleagues separated Bunyamwera virus from Aedes Egypti during a study on Yellow Fever. In addition, Reeves and Hammond isolate California Encephalitis Virus.

1950-3, Korean War

During the Korean War, thousands of United Nations soldiers were infected with Korean Hemorrhagic Fever (HFRS).


Korean Hemmoraghic Fever was isolated by scientists. In addition, Sabin demonstrated that sandfly fever in the Middle East was caused by either the Sicilian Sandfly Fever virus or Naples Sandfly Fever virus.


Gajdusek proposed a common etiology between viruses indigenous to the Far East and Scandinavian based on clinical and epidemiological data.


Soviet scientists note that HFRS epidemics are related to increases in rodent populations.


Casals and Whitman demonstrated Bunyamwera, Wyeomyia, Cache Valley and Kairi viruses were antigenically related, and suggested naming this group Bunyamwera. In this year, La Crosse virus was isolated.


Casals and co-workers studied serogroup Bunyamwera, serogroup C, Guama, Capim, Anopheles A, Simbu, Bwamba, Patois, Serogroup C, Koongol, Tete, and other viruses. Based upon his study, he created the Bunyamwera supergroup.


California Encephalitis Virus was isolated by Thomson, Kalfayan and Anslow.


Crimean Congo Hemmoraghic Fever was isolated by Dr. Courtois in the Belgian Congo.


The Toscana virus was isolated from Phlebotomus Perniciosus (sandfly) in central Italy.


A relation established between Toscana virus and asceptic meningitis, indicating the virus could be the cause of the disease.


Murphy, Harrison, and Whitfield documented chemical similarities between Bunyamwera supergroup viruses, and other unclassified viruses. The morphologic and genetic observations made helped lead to the formation of the family Bunyaviridae.


It was assumed that Rift Valley Fever was a nonfatal disease until an epidemic of patients in Africa lead to some cases of fatal hemmoraghic fever.


Lee and Lee determined that A. agrarius was responsible for transmitting HFRS. They found HFRS antigen in the lungs of the fly at the Hantaan River near the border between North and South Korea.


The first major outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Egypt. The epidemic remained within Egypt, but the eventual disapperance of the disease was not fully understood.


Hanta virus was first isolated.


Bishops and colleagues delineated 5 distinct genera within the Bunyamwera supergroup. This also helped create the family Bunyaviridae.


The biochemical and molecular similarities within the Bunyamwera supergroup were enough to create the family, Bunyaviridae. Within the same year, the families Phlebo, Uuku, Nairo, and Hanta genera were created.


French et. al managed to grow Hanta virus in cell culture.


A recent outbreak of Rift Valley Fever occured in the Senegal River Basin. The episode resulted in 25,000 or more human infections and 9 deaths.


Kolakofsky and Haker determined that cap snatching was used to initiate transcription.


The outbreak of Sin Nombre virus resulted in several deaths within the four corners region of the United States.

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