During approximately 35 years, investigators in various laboratories studying arbovirus ecology and epidemiology accumulated many virus isolates, more than 60 of which were not characterized or placed in taxa. By a combination of electron microscopic and antigenic studies we collected information sufficient to provisionally classify 60 isolates. Electron microscopic observations suggest that 20 are members of the virus family Bunyaviridae, 20 Rhabdoviridae, 14 Reoviridae, one Togaviridae, one Paramyxoviridae (Mapuera virus, from a bat), and one Poxviridae (Yoka virus, from mosquitoes). Serologic studies provided evidence sufficient to place some of these viruses in recognized antigenic groups, within families and genera, and to establish new antigenic groups and taxa for others. Three viruses were found to have morphologic and morphogenetic characteristics consistent with those of members of the family Arenaviridae: Quaranfil virus, a human pathogen, Johnston Atoll virus, isolated from birds and ticks, and Araguari virus, isolated from an opossum. This, the first in a series of three papers, described methods used for these investigations and also presents descriptions of viruses provisionally placed in the families Arenaviridae, Paramyxoviridae, or Poxviridae. Descriptions of viruses provisionally placed in families Bunyaviridae and Reoviridae are published in the second and third papers, respectively. Viruses of the family Rhabdoviridae have been described separately.
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