1887

Abstract

A serological survey for human T cell leukaemia virus (HTLV)/simian T cell leukaemia virus (STLV) antibodies was performed in 61 wild-caught African apes, including five gorillas and 56 chimpanzees originating from south Cameroon. Two young animals, a gorilla () and a chimpanzee (), exhibited a pattern of complete HTLV-I seroreactivity. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses using the complete LTR (750 bp) and a 522 bp fragment of the gene indicated the existence of two novel STLV-I strains, both of which belonged to HTLV-I/STLV-I molecular clade subtype B, specific to central Africa. These first STLV-I strains to be characterized in gorilla and chimpanzee were closely related to each other as well as to several HTLV-I strains originating from inhabitants of south Cameroon, including pygmies. Such findings reinforce the hypothesis of interspecies transmission of STLV-I to humans, leading to the present day distribution of HTLV-I in central African inhabitants.

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2004-01-01
2021-03-09
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