1887

Abstract

Molecular epidemiological studies of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) have concentrated on characterization of viral strains in tumour biopsy samples from Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) patients, mostly obtained in the United States and Europe. Tumour biopsies are a convenient source of viral DNA, as they have a high viral load compared to peripheral blood. However, sequences obtained from biopsies may not be representative of viral strains in asymptomatic subjects and information on ethnicity is often not available. Here, a population-based approach has been used to study the molecular and seroepidemiology of KSHV in isolated populations in Ecuador and Botswana. Amerindians in Ecuador had a variable prevalence of KSHV and all strains characterized were of subtype E, based on K1 sequencing. All Amerindian strains had predominant (P)-type K15 alleles and had sequences in both T0.7 and ORF 75 that appeared to be characteristic of these strains. The prevalence of KSHV in two ethnic groups in Botswana was extremely high. K1 sequences from both Bantu and San subjects were mostly of subtypes B and A5, which are typical of African KSHV strains, but the sequence from one San subject did not cluster with any known subtype. Considerable heterogeneity was seen in the T0.7 and ORF 75 genes in the San subjects and one had a minor (M)-type K15 allele. The heterogeneity of the KSHV strains found in these subjects from Botswana contrasts with the homogeneity of KSHV strains in Amerindians, reflecting differences in the evolutionary history of these populations.

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2004-01-01
2020-01-19
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