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Lancet. 1985 Nov 16;2(8464):1098-100.

Antibodies to HTLV-III/LAV among aboriginal Amazonian Indians in Venezuela.


Serum samples from 224 aboriginal Amazonian Indians were tested for antibodies to HTLV-III/LAV by an indirect immunofluorescence (IF) assay. 9 individuals (4%), 5 of them female, were seropositive by IF and by confirmatory western blotting and radioimmunoprecipitation tests. 3 of the positive sera were collected in 1968. HTLV-III/LAV seropositivity rates varied among the ethnic groups and ranged from 13.3% among the Pemon Indians to 3.3% among the Yanoama tribe. The titres of HTLV-III/LAV antibodies ranged from 1/40 to 1/320. All individuals tested were apparently healthy at the time of the study. None of 211 randomly chosen, healthy blood donors from Venezuelan cities had antibodies to HTLV-III/LAV. The prevalence of specific antibodies among Amazonian Indians suggests the HTLV-III/LAV or a closely related cross-reactive virus may be endemic in this area. The findings also indicate that this virus is indigenous in non-negroid Latin American and negroid tropical populations.

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