Epidemiology and Infection


Determination of natural versus laboratory human infection with Mayaro virus by molecular analysis

T. JUNT a1p1, J. M. HERAUD a1, J. LELARGE a1, B. LABEAU a1 and A. TALARMIN a1c1
a1 Centre National de Référence pour la Surveillance des Arboviroses dans la Région Antilles-Guyane, Institut Pasteur de la Guyane, Cayenne, French Guiana


A laboratory worker developed clinical signs of infection with Mayaro virus (Togaviridae), an arbovirus of South and Central America, 6 days after preparation of Mayaro viral antigen and 10 days after a trip to a rain forest. There was no evidence of skin lesions during the antigen preparation, and level 3 containment safety measures were followed. Therefore, molecular characterization of the virus was undertaken to identify the source of infection. RT–PCR and DNA sequence comparisons proved the infection was with the laboratory strain. Airborne Mayaro virus contamination is thus a hazard to laboratory personnel.

(Accepted August 1 1999)

c1 Author for correspondence: Institute Pasteur de la Guyane, 23 avenue Pasteur, BP 6010, 97306 Cayenne Cedex, French Guiana.
p1 Present address: Institute for Experimental Immunology, University Hospital of Zürich, Schmelzbergstr. 12, CH-8091 Zürich, Switzerland.