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Revisiting human T-cell lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 infections among rural population in Gabon, central Africa thirty years after the first analysis

Abstract : HTLV-1 infection is considered as highly endemic in central Africa. Thirty years ago, a first epidemiological study was performed in Gabon, central Africa, and revealed that the prevalence varied from 5.0 to 10.5%. To evaluate current distribution of HTLVs in Gabon, 4.381 samples were collected from rural population living in 220 villages distributed within the 9 provinces of country. HTLVs prevalence was determined using two ELISA tests and positive results were confirmed by Western Blot. The overall HTLV-1 seroprevalence was of 7.3% among the rural Gabonese population; with 5.4% for men and 9.0% for women. Prevalence of HTLV-1 differed by province, ranging from 2.3% to 12.5% into the rain forest. Being a woman older than 51 years represented a high risk for HTLV-1 acquisition. Hospitalization, operation/surgery, transfusion and medical abortion or fever, arthritis and abdominal pain are also significant risk factors. In addition, 0.1% of samples were found as HTLV-2 positive, while 12.0% had an indeterminate HTLV serological pattern. HTLV-3 and HTLV-4 were not found. Phylogenetic analysis was performed on 87 samples and demonstrated that HTLV-1 present in Gabon belongs mostly to subtype B, however the rare subtype D was also found. Altogether, our results demonstrate that almost thirty years after the first epidemiological study prevention of HTLVs infection is still an issue in Gabon.
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Mélanie Caron, Guillaume Besson, Cindy Padilla, Maria Makuwa, Dieudonné Nkoghé, et al.. Revisiting human T-cell lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 infections among rural population in Gabon, central Africa thirty years after the first analysis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2018, 12 (10), pp.e0006833. ⟨10.1371/journal.pntd.0006833⟩. ⟨hal-02481639⟩

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