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Seroepidemiology of human bocaviruses 1-4

Kalle Kantola, Lea Hedman, Jane Arthur, Abdiwahab Alibeto, Eric Delwart, Tuomas Jartti, Olli Ruuskanen, Klaus Hedman, Maria Söderlund-Venermo
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2011, 204 (9): 1403-12

BACKGROUND: Recently, 3 new members of the genus Bocavirus, human bocavirus 2 (HBoV2), human bocavirus 3 (HBoV3), and human bocavirus 4 (HBoV4), were discovered. HBoV2-4 occur mainly in the gastrointestinal tract but rarely in the respiratory tract, contrary to human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1).

METHODS: To investigate HBoV1-4 seroepidemiology among 195 adults and 252 wheezing children, we conducted immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme immunoassays with recombinant viruslike particles (VLPs). The children's sera were also tested for HBoV1-4 DNA by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).

RESULTS: Both rabbit and human antibodies to HBoV1-4 VP2 VLPs were found to be cross-reactive. After depletion of HBoV1-reactive antibodies, the HBoV2-4 approximate seroprevalences in adults were 34%, 15%, and 2% and in children aged 1-2 years 25%, 10%, and 5%, respectively. After depletion of HBoV2-4-reactive antibodies, the HBoV1 seroprevalence among adults decreased from 96% to 59%. No cross-reactivity of human anti-HBoV IgG was observed with bovine parvovirus1, parvovirus B19 or PARV4. No child was HBoV2-4 viremic.

CONCLUSIONS: HBoV2-4 infect humans less commonly and elicit weaker B-cell responses than HBoV1. In our study HBoV2-4 did not seem to have a major etiological role in wheezing. Cross-reactivity with HBoV2-4 IgG partially accounts for the high HBoV1 seroprevalences previously reported. Correction for cross-reactivity is a prerequisite for VLP-based HBoV seroepidemiology.

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