Geographic Distribution of Arbovirus Antibodies in Indigenous Human Populations in the Indo-Australian Archipelago

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  • Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Sapporo Medical College, Department of Virology and Rickettsiology, National Institute of Health, Department of Medical Zoology, Faculty of Medicine, Nagasaki University, Department of Parasitology, Tokyo Women's Medical College, National Institute of Health Research and Development, Ministry of Health, Sapporo, Japan

Sera from lifetime residents in 16 localities of the Indo-Australian archipelago and adjacent areas were tested for hemagglutination-inhibition antibody against four alphaviruses (Sindbis, Getah, chikungunya, and Ross River) and for neutralizing antibody against six flaviviruses (dengue 2 and 3, Japanese encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis, Kunjin, and Edge Hill). Mosquito collections were carried out in some of the localities to study vector relationships to distribution of the arbovirus antibodies. Antibodies specific to Sindbis and Getah viruses were rare except in north Australia. Chikungunya virus-specific antibody was highly prevalent in localities of the Oriental zoogeographic region and Wallacea, rare in west New Guinea, and absent in north Australia. Age distribution of chikungunya antibody suggested that the antibody last occurred in most Indonesian localities about 30 years ago. Ross River virus-specific antibody was confined to localities of the Australian zoogeographic region. Antibodies reacting to dengue 2 and 3 viruses occurred in high frequency in the entire area of the archipelago. Antibodies specific to Murray Valley encephalitis and Kunjin viruses were also widespread although at a very low frequency. Japanese encephalitis virus-specific antibody was highly prevalent in areas west of Wallace's Line while it was absent in areas east of the line with the exception of Lombok. Antibody to Edge Hill virus was rare and confined to the Australian zoogeographic region. The distribution of arthropod vectors, vertebrate hosts, and of arboviruses are discussed in relation to zoogeographic divisions.

Author Notes

Professor Emeritus.