Saturday, November 26, 2011

HIV1 Group N Spreading Outside of Cameroon's Borders

The rare strain HIV-1 group N seems to have spread outside of Cameroon. This is according to an article released in this month’s Lancet. Previously, cases had been isolated to within Cameroon but this week a man in France with HIV like symptoms tested positive for the this rare infection which for his case has been linked to sexual relations with a partner in Togo.

An HIV Ag/Ab ELISA was used to determine the infection but it was only weakly positive. An HIV-1 western blot also showed weak reactivity. Serotyping samples, showed clear reactivity against group-N-specific antigens. This prompted full-length sequencing through which scientists were able to determine that the infection was with HIV-1 group N.

The first case of HIV-1 group N was reported in a Cameroonian woman in 1998. Since then over 12,000 HIV-1 patients have been screened but there have been only 12 cases of N group reported. Until now these cases were all reported within Cameroon. With a French patient turning up positive and his case linked to sexual relations in Togo, it seems that the disease has spread outside of Cameroon’s borders.

HIV-1 group N is more closely related to SIV isolated from wild chimps than HIV-1 groups M (major), O (outlier) or P. Symptoms in the 57-year-old man living in France included fever, rash, lymphadenopathy, and genital ulceration. These were reported 8 days after returning from Togo.

--Elena Jordan

Lancet Article at:

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