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J Infect. 2013 Jan;66(1):67-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Ethnic differences in polyomavirus simian virus 40 seroprevalence among women in Houston, Texas.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



To examine the prevalence and distribution among racial/ethnic groups of polyomavirus SV40 antibodies in women in Houston, Texas.


Women in three different cohorts reflecting the evolving demographics of Houston were evaluated for frequency of SV40 antibodies using a plaque-reduction neutralization assay.


Women in cohort A (enrolled 1972-1973) were 68% (145/212) African-American and 32% Caucasian; the overall frequency of SV40 neutralizing antibodies was 7%. Women in cohort B (enrolled 1975-1977) were Caucasian with an overall frequency of SV40 neutralizing antibodies of 18% (37/211). Women in cohort C (enrolled 1993-1995) were 50% (199/400) African-American, 25% Caucasian, and 25% Hispanic; the overall frequency of SV40 neutralizing antibodies was 10%. Logistic regression analysis for cohort A showed no difference in SV40 neutralizing antibodies with respect to race/ethnicity, pregnancy status, number of previous pregnancies, or history of sexually transmitted diseases. For cohort C, race/ethnicity was identified as a significant factor associated with SV40 neutralizing antibodies, with Hispanics having a seroprevalence of 23% compared to 5-6% in the other two groups (p = 0.01).


A significantly higher SV40 seroprevalence was found among Hispanics than other racial/ethnic groups in the city of Houston. Findings are compatible with a model that certain population groups potentially exposed to SV40-contaminated oral poliovaccines have maintained cycles of SV40 infections.

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