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Serologic evidence of human orthopoxvirus infections in Sierra Leone

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Author(s): MacNeil Adam | Abel Jason | Reynolds Mary | Lash RR | Fonnie Richard | Kanneh Lansana | Robert Willie | Lungay Victor | Goba Augustine | Moses Lina | Damon Inger | Karem Kevin | Bausch Daniel

Journal: BMC Research Notes
ISSN 1756-0500

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 465;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Orthopoxviruses, including variola virus, vaccinia virus, and monkeypox virus, have previously been documented in humans in West Africa, however, no cases of human orthopoxvirus infection have been reported in the region since 1986. We conducted a serosurvey to determine whether human exposure to orthopoxviruses continues to occur in eastern Sierra Leone. Findings To examine evidence of exposure to orthopoxviruses in the Kenema District of Sierra Leone, we collected and tested sera from 1596 persons by IgG ELISA and a subset of 313 by IgM capture ELISA. Eleven persons born after the cessation of smallpox vaccination had high orthopoxvirus-specific IgG values, and an additional 6 persons had positive IgM responses. No geographic clustering was noted. Conclusions These data suggest that orthopoxviruses continue to circulate in Sierra Leone. Studies aimed at obtaining orthopoxvirus isolates and/or genetic sequences from rodents and symptomatic humans in the area are indicated.

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