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Seroepidemiology of human bocavirus defined using recombinant virus-like particles.

BACKGROUND: Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a newly identified human parvovirus for which seroepidemiology and antigenic properties remain undefined.

METHODS: The HBoV VP2 gene, expressed from a baculovirus vector, produced virus-like particles (VLPs), which were used to raise rabbit anti-HBoV antisera and to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The VLP-based ELISA was used to screen for HBoV-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in a convenience sample of 270 serum specimens, mostly from children, obtained at Yale-New Haven Hospital; 208 specimens were also screened for erythrovirus B19-specific antibodies by a B19 VLP-based ELISA.

RESULTS: Immunofluorescence and ELISA showed that human parvoviruses HBoV and B19 are antigenically distinct. By the HBoV VLP-based ELISA, 91.8% and 63.6% of serum specimens from infants in the first and second months of life, respectively, were found to be seropositive, as were 45.4% from 3-month-old infants and 25.0% from 4-month-old infants. The percentages of HBoV-seropositive children increased to 40.7%-60.0% for children 5-47 months of age and to >85% for individuals >or=48 months old. However, the overall percentage of B19-seropositive individuals was <40.5% for all age groups screened.

CONCLUSIONS: HBoV infection is common during childhood, but a minority of children and young adults screened have evidence of B19 infection.

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