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A gorilla reservoir for human T-lymphotropic virus type 4

LeBreton, M and Switzer, WM and Djoko, CF and Gillis, A and Jia, H and Sturgeon, MM and Shankar, A and Zheng, H and Nkeunen, G and Tamoufe, U and Nana, A and Le Doux Diffo, J and Tafon, B and Kiyang, J and Schneider, BS and Burke, DS and Wolfe, ND (2014) A gorilla reservoir for human T-lymphotropic virus type 4. Emerging Microbes and Infections, 3.

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Of the seven known species of human retroviruses only one, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 4 (HTLV-4), lacks a known animal reservoir. We report the largest screening for simian T-cell lymphotropic virus (STLV-4) to date in a wide range of captive and wild non-human primate (NHP) species from Cameroon. Among the 681 wild and 426 captive NHPs examined, we detected STLV-4 infection only among gorillas by using HTLV-4-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The large number of samples analyzed, the diversity of NHP species examined, the geographic distribution of infected animals relative to the known HTLV-4 case, as well as detailed phylogenetic analyses on partial and full genomes, indicate that STLV-4 is endemic to gorillas, and that rather than being an ancient virus among humans, HTLV-4 emerged from a gorilla reservoir, likely through the hunting and butchering of wild gorillas. Our findings shed further light on the importance of gorillas as keystone reservoirs for the evolution and emergence of human infectious diseases and provide a clear course for preventing HTLV-4 emergence through management of human contact with wild gorillas, the development of improved assays for HTLV-4/STLV-4 detection and the ongoing monitoring of STLV-4 among gorillas and for HTLV-4 zoonosis among individuals exposed to gorilla populations. © 2014 SSCC.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
LeBreton, M
Switzer, WM
Djoko, CF
Gillis, A
Jia, H
Sturgeon, MM
Shankar, A
Zheng, H
Nkeunen, G
Tamoufe, U
Nana, A
Le Doux Diffo, J
Tafon, B
Kiyang, J
Schneider, BS
Burke, DSdonburke@pitt.eduDONBURKE
Wolfe, ND
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Vaccine Research
Date: 22 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Emerging Microbes and Infections
Volume: 3
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1038/emi.2014.7
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 17:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


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