1985 Volume 45, Issue 9 Suppl, p4633s-4636s
The prevalence of antibodies detected by ELISA against human T-lymphotropic viruses, type I (HTLV-I) and type III (HTLV-III-LAV), is described in a comparative serosurvey in the French West Indies and African countries. The data confirm that the Caribbean basin is endemic for HTLV-I. In this region, HTLV-I antibody prevalence varied from 3.4% to 5.2% among blood donors and increased with age to reach a value of 33% among elderly people from the Dominica Island. In French Guyana, a South American country bordering the Caribbean sea, differences in antibody distribution across three ethnic groups (black Bonis, Indian Wayanas, and Hmongs from Asia) provide clues for investigation of the mode of HTLV-I transmission. Africa appears to be an endemic continent for HTLV-I and HTLV-III. For both viruses, the antibody prevalence exhibited an increasing gradient from northern to equatorial through Sudanic areas. These preliminary data by showing that Africa represents an endemic reservoir of HTLVs and, possibly, of other human retroviruses should stimulate further investigations on the natural history and the geographical origin of these viruses.
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