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J Infect Dis. 2000 May;181(5):1562-8. Epub 2000 May 8.

Human herpesvirus 8 in Brazilian Amerindians: a hyperendemic population with a new subtype.

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Viral Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA. biggarb@epndce.nci.


Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) epidemiology in Brazilian Amerindians was studied. Use of an immunofluorescence (IFA) test for latent antibody demonstrated that the prevalence of HHV-8 in 781 Amerindians of diverse tribes (overall, 53% prevalence) was not related to language group or sex but rather increased gradually from 41% in children <10 years of age to 65% in adults >/=30 years of age. In IFA-positive subjects, HHV-8 DNA was detected in 3 (16%) of 19 mononuclear cell samples from peripheral blood and in 1 of 16 saliva samples. The sequences of conserved ORF22 and K6 genes were typical of HHV-8, but the variable K1 gene sequences were only 70%-75% identical to other known HHV-8 strains. Thus, a new HHV-8 subtype, E, is hyperendemic in Brazilian Amerindians, although Kaposi's sarcoma has not been reported. Transmission is probably oral rather than sexual. The limited genetic pool in isolated groups may permit more frequent transmission of a virus with a low prevalence in heterogeneous populations.

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