Analysis of West African hunters for foamy virus infections

Academic Article


  • Foamy viruses are a genus of complex retroviruses that infect a wide variety of mammals. However, a clear association with any disease process has yet to be proven for these viruses. A higher human seroprevalence was reported in African populations, perhaps due to exposure to simian foamy viruses (SFV) endemic in primates. However, the earlier serologic surveys were not confirmed by studies employing nucleic acid amplification. Foamy virus infections of humans clearly do occur as rare zoonoses among primate center or laboratory workers exposed to captive primates or their blood. We sought to detect foamy virus infections in a cohort of humans also presumed to be exposed to SFV, i.e., West African hunters. We constructed recombinant vaccinia viruses that expressed human foamy virus (HFV) Gag or Env polyproteins in mammalian cells. The sera from 17 monkey hunters or several controls were tested in radioimmunoprecipitation assays (RIPAs) against the recombinant HFV proteins. Chimpanzee sera or HFV-positive human sera immunoprecipitated gp130, the HFV Env precursor, as well as p74, the HFV Gag polyprotein. None of the hunters' sera recognized both of these recombinant proteins. We then employed a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of the hunters' DNA but also failed to detect foamy virus infections. Therefore, by utilizing a recombinant RIPA and a nested PCR assay, we have not identified foamy virus infections occurring naturally in hunters exposed to wild monkeys in West Africa.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Goepfert PA; Ritter J; Peng X; Gbakima AA; Zhang Y; Mulligan MJ
  • Start Page

  • 1725
  • End Page

  • 1730
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 18