High prevalence, coinfection rate, and genetic diversity of retroviruses in wild red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius badius) in Tai National Park, Cote d'Ivoire.

Research Group Emerging Zoonoses, Robert Koch Institut, Nordufer 20, Berlin, Germany.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 08/2010; 84(15):7427-36. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00697-10
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Simian retroviruses are precursors of all human retroviral pathogens. However, little is known about the prevalence and coinfection rates or the genetic diversity of major retroviruses-simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), simian T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV-1), and simian foamy virus (SFV)-in wild populations of nonhuman primates. Such information would contribute to the understanding of the natural history of retroviruses in various host species. Here, we estimate these parameters for wild West African red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius badius) in the Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. We collected samples from a total of 54 red colobus monkeys; samples consisted of blood and/or internal organs from 22 monkeys and additionally muscle and other tissue samples from another 32 monkeys. PCR analyses revealed a high prevalence of SIV, STLV-1, and SFV in this population, with rates of 82%, 50%, and 86%, respectively. Forty-five percent of the monkeys were coinfected with all three viruses while another 32% were coinfected with SIV in combination with either STLV or SFV. As expected, phylogenetic analyses showed a host-specific pattern for SIV and SFV strains. In contrast, STLV-1 strains appeared to be distributed in genetically distinct and distant clades, which are unique to the Taï forest and include strains previously described from wild chimpanzees in the same area. The high prevalence of all three retroviral infections in P. b. badius represents a source of infection to chimpanzees and possibly to humans, who hunt them.

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