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Comp Med. 2009 Aug;59(4):383-90.

Prevalence of viremia and oral shedding of rhesus rhadinovirus and retroperitoneal fibromatosis herpesvirus in large age-structured breeding groups of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).

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California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, California, USA.


We performed a cross-sectional study to estimate the prevalence of 2 gamma-2-herpesviruses, rhesus rhadinovirus (RRV) and retroperitoneal fibromatosis herpesvirus (RFHV), in breeding colonies of rhesus macaques. Of 90 animals selected for sampling, 73 (81%) were positive for RRV, which was detected only in blood in 22 (24%), only in saliva in 15 (16%), and in both blood and saliva in 36 (40%). Detection of RRV DNA in blood and saliva was significantly higher in animals younger than 2 y. In comparison, RFHV was detected in 40 (44%) of the 90 animals: only in blood in 5 (6%), only in saliva in 26 (29%), and in both blood and saliva in 9 (10%). Dual infection was detected in 38 (42%) animals; RFHV was only detected in coinfections. The mean RRV genome copy number in blood was significantly higher than that for RFHV. Age was a significant predictor of RRV copy number in blood and RFHV copy number in saliva. Of the 90 animals, 88 (98%) were positive for rhadinoviral antibodies on an immunofluorescent assay. Both RRV and RFHV are highly endemic in socially housed breeding colonies of rhesus macaques, and their patterns of infection are similar to that for the betaherpesvirus rhesus cytomegalovirus.

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