The family Arenaviridae
, genus Arenavirus, consists of two phylogenetically independent groups: Old World (OW) and New World (NW) complexes. The Lassa and Lujo viruses in the OW complex and the Guanarito, Junin, Machupo, Sabia, and Chapare viruses in the NW complex cause viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) in humans, leading to serious public health concerns. These viruses are also considered potential bioterrorism agents. Therefore, it is of great importance to detect these pathogens rapidly and specifically in order to minimize the risk and scale of arenavirus outbreaks. However, these arenaviruses are classified as BSL-4 pathogens, thus making it difficult to develop diagnostic techniques for these virus infections in institutes without BSL-4 facilities. To overcome these difficulties, antibody detection systems in the form of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and an indirect immunofluorescence assay were developed using recombinant nucleoproteins (rNPs) derived from these viruses. Furthermore, several antigen-detection assays were developed. For example, novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the rNPs of Lassa and Junin viruses were generated. Sandwich antigen-capture (Ag-capture) ELISAs using these mAbs as capture antibodies were developed and confirmed to be sensitive and specific for detecting the respective arenavirus NPs. These rNP-based assays were proposed to be useful not only for an etiological diagnosis of VHFs, but also for seroepidemiological studies on VHFs. We recently developed arenavirus neutralization assays using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based pseudotypes bearing arenavirus recombinant glycoproteins. The goal of this article is to review the recent advances in developing laboratory diagnostic assays based on recombinant viral proteins for the diagnosis of VHFs and epidemiological studies on the VHFs caused by arenaviruses.