Failure to Detect Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Antibody in Wild-Caught New World Primates

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  • Retrovirus Diseases Branch and the Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Atlanta, Georgia, Panama

We conducted a study to look for a simian counterpart of human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) in wild-caught monkeys in the Republic of Panama. Serum specimens were obtained from 102 monkeys (Ateles fusciceps, n = 75; Alouatta villosa, n = 18; and Cebus capucinus, n = 9) captured in Panama's Darien rain forest in 1979–1980. Specimens were screened for HTLV antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reactive specimens were further tested by Western blot. None of the 102 specimens were seropositive for HTLV. Our findings provide no evidence for an HTLV-like virus in New World primates from Panama, but the sample size was small, and further studies are warranted.

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