class=”kwd-title”>Keywords: letter Marburg computer virus disease seroprevalence epidemiology Copyright notice See the article “Risk Factors for Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Democratic Republic of the Congo” in volume 9 on?page?1531. primary transmission from the unknown reservoir likely occurred in the mines where rodent shrew bat and other fauna were abundant. No evidence of Marburg computer virus (MBGV) contamination SB 239063 was found in samples from small mammals amphibians and arthropods collected in and around Gorumbwa mine (R. Swanepoel pers. comm.); the SB 239063 origin of the MHF outbreak remained unknown. We hypothesized that this MBGV reservoir’s habitat might not be limited to platinum mines around Durba but may exist in caves or forests in the wider Watsa area. As hunter-gatherers pygmies enter caves for shelter and are in frequent contact with wild animals and body fluids of butchered game. Earlier studies found that pygmies were seropositive for filoviruses significantly more often than subsistence farmers (for filoviruses [4 5 for Ebola but not Marburg ). We conducted a seroprevalence study to verify whether pygmies living in the Watsa area constitute another populace at risk for primary transmission of MBGV. The Watsa area’s populace (≈180 0 includes 4 0 pygmies living predominantly in its southern parts (1). The pygmies live seminomadically in the forest occasionally leaving to exchange goods with the sedentary Bantu populace. We invited the pygmy populace to meet with our study associates at sites 50-90 km from Durba. Three hundred persons volunteered during a 5-day period. After informed verbal consent was obtained the study participants were interviewed and a blood sample was taken from each volunteer. For operational reasons we excluded children <10 years old. According to local customs men received small quantities of salt and soap and women received an item of second-hand clothing as an appreciation for their efforts. Ethical clearance was obtained by the ethics committee of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp and the representative of the Ministry SB 239063 of Health in Watsa. The study questionnaire was comparable to one used in the Durba 1999 survey; we did not maintain a recall period of 1 year for exposures related to medical treatment as this did not appear to be a meaningful time span for the pygmies. Procedures for collecting and handling blood samples were similar to the Durba survey and the same laboratory tests were applied. Serum samples were considered positive only if they were positive for Marburg IgG in both enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) (1). The study participants originated from 39 different settlements. Their median age was 30 years Rabbit Polyclonal to ADORA2A. (range 10-75; q1 20 q3 40); half of them were males. Most study participants reported activities (hunting 60% entering caves 98%) and contacts with wild animals (rodents 79% bats 78% monkeys or apes 99%) thought to be risk factors for the primary transmission of SB SB 239063 239063 filoviruses. Whenever apparent differences existed between the sexes men tended to be uncovered more frequently than women often significantly so. Pygmies were significantly more uncovered to wild animals than the nonmining general populace; the difference was particularly large concerning contact with bats (Table). From one fourth to one third of study participants reported a direct or potential contact with someone with a febrile hemorrhagic syndrome. SB 239063 Women were more frequently exposed to these risk factors for secondary transmission in the household or community than men sometimes significantly so; pygmies were less exposed to these risk factors than the nonmining general populace (Table). Almost all study participants had been uncovered at least once in their life to invasive modern or traditional medical treatment including injections and scarification by which an iatrogenic secondary transmission could have occurred. Table Frequency of risk factors for Marburg hemorrhagic fever in pygmies and nonmining general populace residing in the Watsa Health Zone Democratic Republic of Congo Thirty-seven percent of the study participants reported having experienced a febrile hemorrhagic syndrome at least once in their life men more often than women (n = 236; 45% versus 28% chi-square test: p = 0.006). All serum.