Arenavirus as a potential etiological agent of odontogenic tumours in humans


Monday, February 17, 2020
Odontogenic tumors (OT) are considered rare events and their epidemiologic data are scarce and under-estimated in developing countries because there is no systematic collection of clinical features including histological analyses of the tissue samples. Furthermore, there is an underestimation of the disease relevance and affected people are often marginalized in spite of severe functional impairment of aero-digestive tract. Etiology of OT in humans is still unknown and it represents an important therapeutic and diagnostic challenge.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, a member of the arenavirus family of viruses. The disease is endemic in the rodent population in West-East Africa. Humans usually become infected with Lassa virus through exposure to the food or household items contaminated with urine or feces of infected rats. It is also reported person-to-person infections. About 80% of people infected by Lassa virus have no symptoms but the virus establishes a life-long persistent infection.

The present commentary significance is to start, for the first time ever, a systematic collection of clinical features and tissue sample collection at the St. Mary’s Hospital in Lacor (Gulu) North Uganda where the considered pathologies have an important frequency. The systematic collection will allow to corroborate the possible association between arenaviruses infection and pathogenesis of odontogenic tumors in humans.

This work is dedicated to all the populations that cannot access to specialized medical care. Thanks to the health personnel and to the volunteers who over the years have alternated at St. Mary’s Hospital. A special thanks to Dr. Martin Ogwang, Institutional Director of Lacor Hospital (General Surgery), Dr. Emmanuel Ochola Head of Department of HIV of Lacor Hospital (Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics), Dr. Joses Komakech, Oral maxillo facial surgery, Dentistry Department of Lacor Hospital, Dr. Dominique Corti (Corti Foundation President) and the Comboni Missionaries.