<p>Abstract</p> <p><b>Background</b></p> <p>Human retroviral infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) are the result of simian zoonotic transmissions through handling and butchering of Non-Human Primates (NHP) or by close contact with pet animals. Recent studies on retroviral infections in NHP bushmeat allowed for the identification of numerous Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV) and Simian T-cell Lymphotropic Viruses (STLV) to which humans are exposed. Nevertheless, today, data on simian retroviruses at the primate/hunter interface remain scarce. We conducted a pilot study on 63 blood and/or tissues samples derived from NHP bushmeat seized by the competent authorities in different locations across the country.</p> <p><b>Results</b></p> <p>SIV and STLV were detected by antibodies to HIV and HTLV antigens, and PCRs were performed on samples with an HIV or/and HTLV-like or indeterminate profile. Fourteen percent of the samples cross-reacted with HIV antigens and 44% with HTLV antigens. We reported STLV-1 infections in five of the seven species tested. STLV-3 infections, including a new STLV-3 subtype, STLV-1 and -3 co-infections, and triple SIV, STLV-1, STLV-3 infections were observed in red-capped mangabeys (<it>C.torquatus</it>). We confirmed SIV infections by PCR and sequence analyses in mandrills, red-capped mangabeys and showed that mustached monkeys in Gabon are infected with a new SIV strain basal to the SIVgsn/mus/mon lineage that did not fall into the previously described SIVmus lineages reported from the corresponding species in Cameroon. The same monkey (sub)species can thus be carrier of, at least, three distinct SIVs. Overall, the minimal prevalence observed for both STLV and SIV natural infections were 26.9% and 11.1% respectively.</p> <p><b>Conclusions</b></p> <p>Overall, these data, obtained from a restricted sampling, highlight the need for further studies on simian retroviruses in sub-Saharan Africa to better understand their evolutionary history and to document SIV strains to which humans are exposed. We also show that within one species, a high genetic diversity may exist for SIVs and STLVs and observe a high genetic diversity in the SIVgsn/mon/mus lineage, ancestor of HIV-1/SIVcpz/SIVgor.</p
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