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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 10;6(1):e15949. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015949.

Detection of a single identical cytomegalovirus (CMV) strain in recently seroconverted young women.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.



Infection with multiple CMV strains is common in immunocompromised hosts, but its occurrence in normal hosts has not been well-studied.


We analyzed CMV strains longitudinally in women who acquired CMV while enrolled in a CMV glycoprotein B (gB) vaccine trial. Sequencing of four variable genes was performed in samples collected from seroconversion and up to 34 months thereafter.


199 cultured isolates from 53 women and 65 original fluids from a subset of 19 women were sequenced. 51 women were infected with one strain each without evidence for genetic drift; only two women shed multiple strains. Genetic variability among strains increased with the number of sequenced genetic loci. Nevertheless, 13 of 53 women proved to be infected with an identical CMV strain based on sequencing at all four variable genes. CMV vaccine did not alter the degree of genetic diversity amongst strains.


Primary CMV infection in healthy women nearly always involves shedding of one strain that remains stable over time. Immunization with CMVgB-1 vaccine strain is not selective against specific strains. Although 75% of women harbored their unique strain, or a strain shared with only one other woman, 25% shared a single common strain, suggesting that this predominant strain with a particular combination of genetic loci is advantageous in this large urban area.

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