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HTLV-2B Strains, Similar to Those Found in Several Amerindian Tribes, Are Endemic in Central African Bakola Pygmies.

Abstract : Background. The presence and origin of endemic foci of human T-lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV2) infection in Africa remain a matter of debate. Methods. To better appreciate such determinants, we performed a survey of 1918 inhabitants from Cameroon forest areas, including 1051 Bakola Pygmies and 867 Bantus. Results. The overall HTLV-1/2 seroprevalence was 4% (49 cases of HTLV-1 and 27 cases of HTLV-2 infection). Both infections were mainly restricted to the Bakola Pygmies, with surprisingly no HTLV-2 infections in the Bantu population. Both HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 seroprevalences increased with age. There was evidence of ongoing HTLV-2 transmission in this population. Lymphoid T cell lines producing HTLV-2 were established. HTLV-2 long terminal repeat sequences (672 base pairs) obtained from 7 infected Bakola were highly similar to each other (<1% nucleotide divergence), as well as to Amerindian HTLV-2B strains. Analyses on a complete sequence (8954 base pairs) confirmed that it was a typical HTLV-2 subtype B strain. Along with molecular clock analysis, these data strongly suggest that HTLV-2 has been endemic in the Bakola Pygmy population for a long time. Conclusions. This study demonstrates clearly an HTLV-2 endemicity with ongoing transmission in an African population. Furthermore, it give insights into central questions regarding the origins and evolution rate of HTLV-2 and the migrations of infected populations.
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Philippe Mauclère, Philippe Vicente Afonso, Laurent Meertens, Sabine Plancoulaine, Sara Calattini, et al.. HTLV-2B Strains, Similar to Those Found in Several Amerindian Tribes, Are Endemic in Central African Bakola Pygmies.. Journal of Infectious Diseases, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011, 203 (9), pp.1316-23. ⟨10.1093/infdis/jir031⟩. ⟨pasteur-00590844⟩

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