Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17624835
J. Infect. Dis. 2007 Aug;196(4):510-21
BACKGROUND: Melanesia is endemic for human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) subtype C. In 2005, we identified 4 infected women from Ambae Island, Vanuatu. Subsequently, 4247 Ni-Vanuatu originating from 18 islands were enrolled to define HTLV-1 epidemiological determinants and to characterize the viral strains molecularly.
METHODS: Plasma from 1074 males and 3173 females were screened for HTLV-1/2 antibodies by particle agglutination (PA) and an immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Positive and/or borderline samples were then tested by a Western blot (WB) confirmatory assay. DNAs were amplified to obtain a 522-bp env gene fragment. Phylogenetic and molecular-clock analyses were performed.
RESULTS: Of 4247 samples, 762 were positive and/or borderline by IFA/PA, and 26 of them were confirmed to be HTLV-1 positive by WB. The overall HTLV-1 seroprevalence was 0.62%. Viral transmission was found within families of infected index case patients. A geographic heterogeneity of HTLV-1 seroprevalence was observed among the islands. All 41 of the new env sequences belonged to HTLV-1 subtype C. Phylogenetic and molecular-clock analyses suggested that Ni-Vanuatu and Solomon Islander strains emerged from a common ancestor ~10,000 years ago.
CONCLUSION: The Vanuatu archipelago is endemic for HTLV-1 with a diversity of subtype C variants. These strains were probably introduced into Vanuatu during ancient migration of the original settlers a few thousand years ago.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17624835