Molecular detection of yaba monkey tumor virus from a vervet monkey

Helene Brettschneider, Johan H. Voster, Emily P. Lane, Erna van Wilpe, Peter Biden, Desire Dalton, Antoinette Kotze

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Yaba monkey tumor virus (YMTV) was first diagnosed in a colony of captive rhesus monkeys
(Macaca mulatta) in Yaba, Nigeria. It has been implicated as the cause of cutaneous nodules
in wild baboons (Papio species), rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus monkeys
(Macaca fascicularis). This paper reports a case of cutaneous pox lesions caused by YMTV in
a free-ranging adult female vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) from the Umkomaas
coastal area in South Africa. The virus was identified by molecular sequencing from fragments
of the insulin metalloprotease-like protein and intracellular mature virion (IMV) membrane
protein as well as the DNA polymerase genes. Phylogenetic analyses of these gene regions
revealed a 99% similarity of the sample to YMTV. Although human disease caused by YMTV
is normally mild, it is recommended that persons in contact with non-human primates in
the area of Umkomaas who develop cutaneous lesions should inform their doctors of the
possibility of this infection. The extent and significance of the virus to human and non-human
primates in South Africa are not known. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first diagnosis
of YMTV in South Africa and in vervet monkeys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
JournalJournal of the South African Veterinary Association
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2013


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