Cassava latent virus (CLV) is almost entirely confined in East Africa to upland cassava-growing areas west of the Rift Valley, where it is often associated with cassava mosaic disease (it was isolated from 27 of 38 cassava plants with mosaic, but not from 24 without mosaic). However, it is not the causal agent, because it was not recovered from any of 31 mosaic-diseased plants in coastal districts. All attempts to return CLV to cassava failed.

The host range of CLV appears to be limited to Euphorbiaceae (Manihot) and Solanaceae (Nicotiana, Datura, Nicandra, Solanum). N. clevelandii proved the most useful assay and propagation host. The dilution end-point of CLV was about 10-3, thermal inactivation point about 55°C, and longevity in vitro about 3 days.

CLV was purified by clarification of leaf extracts with butanol/chloroform mixtures. Purified preparations (A 260/A 280 ratio c. 16) contained numerous 30 20 nm paired particles with a sedimentation coefficient (s20w) of 76 S. Treatment with RNase and DNase showed that the viral nucleic acid is DNA; CLV closely resembles maize streak virus but is not related to it serologically. The cryptogram for CLV is D/1: 0.8/*: S/S: S/*, geminivirus group.