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Occult hepatitis B virus infection in chacma baboons, South Africa.


ABSTRACT: During previous studies of susceptibility to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, HBV DNA was detected in 2/6 wild-caught baboons. In the present study, HBV DNA was amplified from 15/69 wild-caught baboons. All animals were negative for HBV surface antigen and antibody against HBV core antigen. Liver tissue from 1 baboon was immunohistochemically negative for HBV surface antigen but positive for HBV core antigen. The complete HBV genome of an isolate from this liver clustered with subgenotype A2. Reverse transcription PCR of liver RNA amplified virus precore and surface protein genes, indicating replication of virus in baboon liver tissue. Four experimentally naive baboons were injected with serum from HBV DNA-positive baboons. These 4 baboons showed transient seroconversion, and HBV DNA was amplified from serum at various times after infection. The presence of HBV DNA at relatively low levels and in the absence of serologic markers in the baboon, a nonhuman primate, indicates an occult infection.

SUBMITTER: Dickens C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3647412 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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