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J Virol. 2012 Jan;86(2):1255-60. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06016-11. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Cross-species transmission of simian foamy virus to humans in rural Gabon, Central Africa.

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  • 1Unité de Rétrovirologie, Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon.


In order to characterize simian foamy retroviruses (SFVs) in wild-born nonhuman primates (NHPs) in Gabon and to investigate cross-species transmission to humans, we obtained 497 NHP samples, composed of 286 blood and 211 tissue (bush meat) samples. Anti-SFV antibodies were found in 31 of 286 plasma samples (10.5%). The integrase gene sequence was found in 38/497 samples, including both blood and tissue samples, with novel SFVs in several Cercopithecus species. Of the 78 humans, mostly hunters, who had been bitten or scratched by NHPs, 19 were SFV seropositive, with 15 cases confirmed by PCR. All but one were infected with ape SFV. We thus found novel SFV strains in NHPs in Gabon and high cross-species transmission of SFVs from gorilla bites.

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