Open Access Comparative Transmission of Multiple Herpesviruses and Simian Virus 40 in a Baboon Breeding Colony

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Abstract:

Little is known about the natural history of herpesviruses indigenous in baboons. Here, we describe the development of ELISAs for five herpesviruses. These assays were used to test more than 950 serum samples collected from approximately 210 infant/juvenile and 130 adult baboons in a captive breeding colony over a period of seven years. Results indicated that baboon cytomegalovirus, lymphocryptovirus, and rhadinovirus are transmitted efficiently within the colony and are acquired at an early age. Baboon α-herpesvirus HVP2 and polyomavirus simian virus 40 (SV40) were acquired later and by fewer juveniles than were the other three herpesviruses. More than 60% of baboons acquired HVP2 before reaching sexual maturity, indicating that oral infection of infants and juveniles, rather than sexual transmission between adults, is the predominant mode of transmission for this virus. Antibody to simian varicella virus (SVV) was found in about 40% of baboons. SVV was acquired principally by infants and juveniles; few adults seroconverted despite seronegative adults being in constant contact with infants and juveniles undergoing primary infection. Time of seroconversion was not statistically correlated to specific individual herpesviruses, suggesting that each virus is acquired as an independent infection event rather than multiple viruses being acquired at the same time. Several baboons that were delivered by cesarean section and were housed separate from, but in close proximity to, other baboons remained free of many or all viruses for several years, suggesting that, similar to human herpesviruses, baboon herpesviruses and SV40 are transmitted principally by direct contact.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Statistics, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078 2: Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078 3: Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 4: Department of Pathology, Division of Animal Resources, College of Medicine, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73190 5: Department of Statistics, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73190

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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