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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011 Apr;11(4):367-74. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2010.0029. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Prevalence and risk factors for encephalomyocarditis virus infection in Peru.

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School of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA.


Although encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) infection has been commonly documented among domestic animals, less is known about EMCV transmission among humans. Recently, we described the isolation of EMCV from two febrile patients in Peru. To further investigate EMCV transmission in Peru, we screened febrile patients reporting to health clinics in Peru for serological evidence of recent EMCV infection. We also conducted a serological survey for EMCV-neutralizing antibodies in the city of Iquitos, located in the Amazon basin department of Loreto, Peru. Additionally, we screened serum from rodents collected from 10 departments in Peru for evidence of EMCV exposure. EMCV infection was found to be only rarely associated with acute febrile disease in Peru, accounting for <1% of febrile episodes analyzed. Despite the low acute disease burden associated with the virus, human exposure was quite common, as prevalence of EMCV-neutralizing antibodies ranged between 6.0% in the coastal city of Tumbes and >17% in cities in the tropical rainforest of northeastern Peru (Iquitos and Yurimaguas). On the basis of the serological survey conducted in Iquitos, risk factors for past infection include increased age, socioeconomic indicators such as residence construction materials and neighborhood, and swine ownership. Evidence from the rodent survey indicates that EMCV exposure is common among Murinae subfamily rodents in Peru (9.4% EMCV IgG positive), but less common among Sigmodontinae rodents (1.0% positive). Further studies are necessary to more precisely delineate the mode of EMCV transmission to humans, other potential disease manifestations, and the economic impact of EMCV transmission among swine in Peru.

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