Human Infections with Tensaw Virus in South Florida: Evidence that Tensaw Virus Subtypes Stimulate the Production of Antibodies Reactive with Closely Related Bunyamwera Serogroup Viruses

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  • * Division of Vector-Borne Viral Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, P.O. Box 2087, Fort Collins, Colorado 80522-2087
  • Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Tallahasee, Florida 32301
  • AIDS Program, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Maguari virus, a member of the Bunyamwera serogroup (family Bunyaviridae, genus Bunyavirus) has not been isolated north of Trinidad. Anecdotal information from other investigators has indicated the presence of antibody to Maguari virus in human residents of south Florida. We attributed such antibody to either cross-reactivity with Tensaw virus, the only Bunyamwera serogroup virus known in south Florida, or to crossreactivity to an antigenic subtype or variant of Tensaw virus. Five strains, identified as Tensaw virus when they were isolated from mosquitoes collected in south Florida more than 20 years ago, were retrieved from storage. They were compared by serum dilutionplaque reduction neutralization tests with Bunyamwera serogroup prototypes Tensaw, Maguari, Cache Valley, and Tlacotalpan viruses. The south Florida isolates were shown to be most closely related to prototype Tensaw virus and most distantly related to prototype Maguari virus. One isolate could not be distinguished from prototype Tensaw virus, and the other 4 appeared to be subtypes of prototype Tensaw virus.

More than 300 serum samples from humans in south Florida were tested for neutralizing antibody to prototypes Tensaw and Maguari viruses and to 3 of the field isolates. Thirteen had antibody to prototype Tensaw virus only, 19 to prototype maguari virus only, and 39 to both. Antibody to all but 6 of these 71 was attributed to infection with Tensaw virus, to a subtype of Tensaw virus, or to travel or birth outside the United States. It is likely that those with antibody to Maguari virus only had been infected with yet another subtype of Tensaw virus, although another, undiscovered, Bunyamwera serogroup virus may exist in south Florida.

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