, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 288-307
Date: 07 Dec 2010

Lack of Evidence of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Among Nonhuman Primates in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire: Limitations of Noninvasive Methods and SIV Diagnostic Tools for Studies of Primate Retroviruses

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It is now well established that the human immunodeficiency viruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2, are the results of cross-species transmissions of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) naturally infecting nonhuman primates in sub-Saharan Africa. SIVs are found in many African primates, and humans continue to be exposed to these viruses by hunting and handling primate bushmeat. Sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) and western red colobus (Piliocolobus badius badius) are infected with SIV at a high rate in the Taï Forest, Côte d’Ivoire. We investigated the SIV infection and prevalence in 6 other monkey species living in the Taï Forest using noninvasive methods. We collected 127 fecal samples from 2 colobus species (Colobus polykomos and Procolobus verus) and 4 guenon species (C. diana, C. campbelli, C. petaurista, and C. nictitans). We tested these samples for HIV cross-reactive antibodies and performed reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) targeting the gag, pol, and env regions of the SIV genome. We screened 16 human microsatellites for use in individual discrimination and identified 4–6 informative markers per species. Serological analysis of 112 samples yielded negative (n = 86) or uninterpretable (n = 26) results. PCR analysis on 74 samples confirmed the negative results. These results may reflect either the limited number of individuals sampled or a low prevalence of infection. Further research is needed to improve the sensitivity of noninvasive methods for SIV detection.