ArticleInfectious diseases

Failure to detect simian immunodeficiency virus infection in a large Cameroonian cohort with high non-human primate exposure

Djoko CF, Wolfe ND, Aghokeng AF, Lebreton M, Liegeois F, Tamoufe U, Schneider BS, Ortiz N, Mbacham WF, Carr JK, Rimoin AW, Fair JN, Pike BL, Mpoudi-Ngole E, Delaporte E, Burke DS, Peeters M

Ecohealth. 2012 Mar;9(1):17-23


Hunting and butchering of wildlife in Central Africa are known risk factors for a variety of human diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Due to the high incidence of human exposure to body fluids of non-human primates, the significant prevalence of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in non-human primates, and hunting/butchering associated cross-species transmission of other retroviruses in Central Africa, it is possible that SIV is actively transmitted to humans from primate species other than mangabeys, chimpanzees, and/or gorillas. We evaluated SIV transmission to humans by screening 2,436 individuals that hunt and butcher non-human primates, a population in which simian foamy virus and simian T-lymphotropic virus were previously detected. We identified 23 individuals with high seroreactivity to SIV. Nucleic acid sequences of SIV genes could not be detected, suggesting that SIV infection in humans could occur at a lower frequency than infections with other retroviruses, including simian foamy virus and simian T-lymphotropic virus. Additional studies on human populations at risk for non-human primate zoonosis are necessary to determine whether these results are due to viral/host characteristics or are indicative of low SIV prevalence in primate species consumed as bushmeat as compared to other retroviruses in Cameroon.

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