Prevalence and molecular profiling of Epstein Barr virus (EBV) among healthy blood donors from different nationalities in Qatar.
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The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis. EBV is highly prevalent lymphotropic herpesvirus and has been linked to several malignancies. Transmission is generally by oral secretions, but can be through blood transfusions and organ transplantations. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence, viremia rates, and circulating genotypes of EBV in healthy blood donors in Qatar. Blood samples from 673 blood donors of different nationalities residing in Qatar (mainly Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, and India) were collected and tested for anti-EBV capsid (VCA; IgG & IgM), nuclear (EBNA; IgG), and early (EA-D; IgG) antigens. Avidity testing was determined when active infection was suspected. DNA was extracted from the buffy coat and subjected to EBV-DNA quantification using qRT-PCR. Genotyping was performed using nested-PCR targeting EBV-EBNA2 gene, and phylogeny by sequence analysis of the LMP-1 gene. 97.9% (673/659) of the samples were seropositive as indicated by the presence VCA-IgG, while 52.6% (354/673) had detectible EBV-DNA. EBV seroprevalence and viremia rates increased significantly with age. Genotyping of 51 randomly selected samples showed predominance of Genotype 1 (72.5%, 37/51) as compared to genotype 2 (3.5%), and mixed infections were detected in 4% of the samples. Sub-genotyping for these samples revealed that the Mediterranean strain was predominant (65.3%), followed by B95.8 prototype and North Carolina strains (12.2% each), and China1 strain (6%). As a first study to evaluate EBV infection in highly diverse population in Qatar, where expatriates represent more than 85% of the population, our results indicated high seroprevalence and viremia rate of EBV in different nationalities, with genotype 1 and Mediterranean strain being predominant. Clinical significance of these finding have not been investigated and shall be evaluated in future studies.
- Biomedical Sciences [152 items ]