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Emerg Infect Dis 2014 Feb;20(2):232-9

Genomic variability of monkeypox virus among humans, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Kugelman JR, Johnston SC, Mulembakani PM, Kisalu N, Lee MS, Koroleva G, McCarthy SE, Gestole MC, Wolfe ND, Fair JN, Schneider BS, Wright LL, Huggins J, Whitehouse CA, Wemakoy EO, Muyembe-Tamfum JJ, Hensley LE, Palacios GF, Rimoin AW


Monkeypox virus is a zoonotic virus endemic to Central Africa. Although active disease surveillance has assessed monkeypox disease prevalence and geographic range, information about virus diversity is lacking. We therefore assessed genome diversity of viruses in 60 samples obtained from humans with primary and secondary cases of infection from 2005 through 2007. We detected 4 distinct lineages and a deletion that resulted in gene loss in 10 (16.7%) samples and that seemed to correlate with human-to-human transmission (p = 0.0544). The data suggest a high frequency of spillover events from the pool of viruses in nonhuman animals, active selection through genomic destabilization and gene loss, and increased disease transmissibility and severity. The potential for accelerated adaptation to humans should be monitored through improved surveillance.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #24457084 DOI: 10.3201/eid2002.130118
PubMed Central ID: #PMC3901482
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Women's Health
Entry Created: 2014-03-18