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1.  Prevalence, correlates and pattern of Hepatitis B among antenatal clinic attenders in Yaounde-Cameroon: is perinatal transmission of HBV neglected in Cameroon? 
Few studies have evaluated the prevalence of HBV in the general Cameroonian population or among antenatal attendants. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, correlates and patterns of Hepatitis B surface antigen among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Yaounde-Cameroon.
This was a cross-sectional multicenter study carried out in a referral hospital and two secondary hospitals in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. The study lasted 15 months (March 2011 to June 2012), and recruited 959 pregnant women. Patient recruitment was consecutive. The HBsAg was tested using the Monalisa HBsAg Ultra ELISA kit. Other hepatitis B markers were equally tested.
We used the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 14.0 software to conduct a quantitative analysis of the derived data. Simple descriptive statistics such as means, standard deviations, and proportions were used to describe the data. We tested for association in categorical variables using the chi-squared (χ2) test. The odds ratio (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were used to summarise the strength of association between specific binary exposure and outcome variables. The level of statistical significance for the study was set at p < 0.05.
The prevalence of hepatitis B infection (HBsAg) among antenatal clinic attenders in our setting was 7.7%. Amongst these women, just 5.4% were previously aware of their HBsAg status. The rate of HBV infectivity was high, with 28% of HBsAg positive women having evidence of HBeAg in their plasma, and up to 45.8% of these women lacking antibodies against hepatitis B e antigen (anti-HBe). About 41% of the pregnant women had had previous contact with HBV as evidenced by the positive status for anti-HBc.
Just 2.7% of the pregnant women had previously been vaccinated against HBV. The mean age for HBsAg positivity in our setting was 26.9 ±4.7 years, and the most affected age group was the 25 – 29 years age group. There was no statistically significant association between age or other socio-demographic risk factors and HBsAg status. Numerous risk factors for HBV acquisition exists in our settings, but amongst these, only a history of a contact with hepatitis B infection was found to be significantly associated with HBsAg positivity (OR 1.63, 95% C.I 1.15-2.30). Finally, the coinfection rate of HBV/HIV was 0.74%.
The prevalence of hepatitis B among pregnant women in Cameroon is high, and the pattern tends towards high infectivity and therefore increased risk of perinatal HBV transmission. These highlight the need to step up preventive efforts against hepatitis B infection and perinatal HBV transmission in our community.
PMCID: PMC3751222  PMID: 23924215
Hepatitis B; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Risk factors; Low resource setting
2.  Lipid Peroxidation and Total Cholesterol in HAART-Naïve Patients Infected with Circulating Recombinant Forms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 in Cameroon 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65126.
HIV infection has commonly been found to affect lipid profile and antioxidant defense.
To determine the effects of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and viral subtype on patient’s cholesterol and oxidative stress markers, and determine whether in the absence of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), these biochemical parameters could be useful in patient’s management and monitoring disease progression in Cameroon. For this purpose, we measured total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol (LDLC), HDL cholesterol (HDLC), total antioxidant ability (TAA), lipid peroxidation indices (LPI), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in HIV negative persons and HIV positive HAART-naïve patients infected with HIV-1 group M subtypes.
We measured serum TC, LDLC, HDLC, plasma MDA, and TAA concentrations, and calculated LPI indices in 151 HIV-positive HAART-naïve patients and 134 seronegative controls. We also performed gene sequence analysis on samples from 30 patients to determine the effect of viral genotypes on these biochemical parameters. We also determined the correlation between CD4 cell count and the above biochemical parameters.
We obtained the following controls/patients values for TC (1.96±0.54/1. 12±0. 48 g/l), LDLC (0. 67±0. 46/0. 43±0. 36 g/l), HDLC (105. 51±28. 10/46. 54±23. 36 mg/dl) TAA (0. 63±0. 17/0. 16±0. 16 mM), MDA (0. 20±0. 07/0. 41±0. 10 µM) and LPI (0. 34±0. 14/26. 02±74. 40). In each case, the difference between the controls and patients was statistically significant (p<0.05). There was a positive and statistically significant Pearson correlation between CD4 cell count and HDLC (r = +0.272; p<0.01), TAA (r = +0.199; p<0.05) and a negative and statistically significant Pearson correlation between CD4 cell count and LPI (r = −0.166; p<0.05). Pearson correlation between CD4 cell count and TC, CD4cell count and LDLC was positive but not statistically significant while it was negative but not statistically significant with MDA. The different subtypes obtained after sequencing were CRF02_AG (43.3%), CRF01_AE (20%), A1 (23.3%), H (6.7%), and G (6.7%). None of the HIV-1 subtypes significantly influenced the levels of the biochemical parameters, but by grouping them as pure subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), the CRF significantly influenced TC levels. TC was significantly lower in patients infected with CRF (0.87±0.27 g/l) compared to patients infected with pure HIV-1 subtypes (1.32±0.68 g/l) (p<0.017). MDA levels were also significantly higher in patients infected with HIV-1CRF01_AE (0.50±0.10 µM), compared to patients infected with CRF02_AG (0. 38±0. 08 µM) (p<0.018).
These results show that HIV infection in Cameroon is associated with significant decrease in TAA, LDLC, HDLC and TC, and increased MDA concentration and LPI indices which seem to be linked to the severity of HIV infection as assessed by CD4 cell count. The data suggests increased oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in HIV-infected patients in Cameroon, and an influence of CRFs on TC and MDA levels.
PMCID: PMC3676401  PMID: 23762297
3.  Molecular Epidemiology of HIV Type 1 CRF02_AG in Cameroon and African Patients Living in Italy 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(11):1173-1182.
HIV-1 CRF02_AG accounts for >50% of infected individuals in Cameroon. CRF02_AG prevalence has been increasing both in Africa and Europe, particularly in Italy because of migrations from the sub-Saharan region. This study investigated the molecular epidemiology of CRF02_AG in Cameroon by employing Bayesian phylodynamics and analyzed the relationship between HIV-1 CRF02_AG isolates circulating in Italy and those prevalent in Africa to understand the link between the two epidemics. Among 291 Cameroonian reverse transcriptase sequences analyzed, about 70% clustered within three distinct clades, two of which shared a most recent common ancestor, all related to sequences from Western Africa. The major Cameroonian clades emerged during the mid-1970s and slowly spread during the next 30 years. Little or no geographic structure was detected within these clades. One of the major driving forces of the epidemic was likely the high accessibility between locations in Southern Cameroon contributing to the mobility of the population. The remaining Cameroonian sequences and the new strains isolated from Italian patients were interspersed mainly within West and Central African sequences in the tree, indicating a continuous exchange of CRF02_AG viral strains between Cameroon and other African countries, as well as multiple independent introductions in the Italian population. The evaluation of the spread of CRF02_AG may provide significant insight about the future dynamics of the Italian and European epidemic.
PMCID: PMC3206741  PMID: 21453131
4.  Reference Values of Lymphocyte Subsets in Healthy, HIV-Negative Children in Cameroon▿ 
Lymphocyte subset reference values used to monitor infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or other immunological disorders in healthy children in Cameroon, are lacking. Values for Caucasian cohorts are already being utilized for clinical decisions but could be inappropriate for African populations. We report here the immunological profile for children aged from birth through 6 years in Cameroon and also compare our values to data from other African and Caucasian populations. In a cohort of 352 healthy children, aged 0 to 6 years, the relative and absolute numbers of T-cell subsets, B cells, and NK lymphocytes were determined from peripheral blood collected in EDTA tubes. Samples were stained with BD Multitest reagents in Trucount tubes and analyzed by using CellQuest-Pro and FlowJo software. We evaluated about 23 different lymphocyte subsets in which the absolute number and percentage values differed significantly (P < 0.05) with age and peaked between 6 and 12 months. B-cell values were higher compared to reported values from developed countries. Differences in activated and differentiated T cells were observed in subjects between 1 and 6 years of age. The absolute CD8+ T-cell count and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio seem to depend on gender. Normal lymphocyte subsets values among children from Cameroon differ from reported values in Caucasian and some African populations. The differences observed could be due to genetic and environmental factors coupled with the methodology used. These values could be used as initial national reference guidelines as more data are assembled.
PMCID: PMC3122514  PMID: 21411603
5.  A Rare Null Allele Potentially Encoding a Dominant-Negative TRIM5α Protein in Baka Pygmies 
Virology  2009;391(1):140-147.
The global acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is thought to have arisen by the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)-like viruses from chimpanzees in southeastern Cameroon to humans. TRIM5α is a restriction factor that can decrease the susceptibility of cells of particular mammalian species to retrovirus infection. A survey of TRIM5 genes in 127 indigenous individuals from southeastern Cameroon revealed that approximately 4 percent of the Baka pygmies studied were heterozygous for a rare variant with a stop codon in exon 8. The predicted product of this allele, TRIM5 R332X, is truncated in the functionally important B30.2(SPRY) domain, does not restrict retrovirus infection, and acts as a dominant-negative inhibitor of wild-type human TRIM5α. Thus, some indigenous African forest dwellers potentially exhibit diminished TRIM5α function; such genetic factors, along with the high frequency of exposure to chimpanzee body fluids, may have predisposed to the initial cross-species transmission of HIV-1-like viruses.
PMCID: PMC2760473  PMID: 19577266
HIV-1; susceptibility; restriction factor; cross-species transmission; polymorphism; mutant; Africa
6.  HIV-1 recombinants with multiple parental strains in low-prevalence, remote regions of Cameroon: Evolutionary relics? 
Retrovirology  2010;7:39.
The HIV pandemic disseminated globally from Central West Africa, beginning in the second half of the twentieth century. To elucidate the virologic origins of the pandemic, a cross-sectional study was conducted of the genetic diversity of HIV-1 strains in villagers in 14 remote locations in Cameroon and in hospitalized and STI patients. DNA extracted from PBMC was PCR amplified from HIV(+) subjects. Partial pol amplicons (N = 164) and nearly full virus genomes (N = 78) were sequenced. Among the 3956 rural villagers studied, the prevalence of HIV infection was 4.9%; among the hospitalized and clinic patients, it was 8.6%.
Virus genotypes fell into two distinctive groups. A majority of the genotyped strains (109/164) were the circulating recombinant form (CRF) known to be endemic in West Africa and Central West Africa, CRF02_AG. The second most common genetic form (9/164) was the recently described CRF22_01A1, and the rest were a collection of 4 different subtypes (A2, D, F2, G) and 6 different CRFs (-01, -11, -13, -18, -25, -37). Remarkably, 10.4% of HIV-1 genomes detected (17/164) were heretofore undescribed unique recombinant forms (URF) present in only a single person. Nearly full genome sequencing was completed for 78 of the viruses of interest. HIV genetic diversity was commonplace in rural villages: 12 villages each had at least one newly detected URF, and 9 villages had two or more.
These results show that while CRF02_AG dominated the HIV strains in the rural villages, the remainder of the viruses had tremendous genetic diversity. Between the trans-species transmission of SIVcpz and the dispersal of pandemic HIV-1, there was a time when we hypothesize that nascent HIV-1 was spreading, but only to a limited extent, recombining with other local HIV-1, creating a large variety of recombinants. When one of those recombinants began to spread widely (i.e. became epidemic), it was recognized as a subtype. We hypothesize that the viruses in these remote Cameroon villages may represent that pre-epidemic stage of viral evolution.
PMCID: PMC2879232  PMID: 20426823
7.  Exposure to Wild Primates among HIV-infected Persons 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(10):1579-1582.
HIV-1 is an immunosuppressive pathogen. Our behavioral data for 191 HIV-1–infected rural Cameroonians show frequent exposure to nonhuman primates through activities such as hunting and butchering. Immunosuppression among persons exposed to body fluids of wild nonhuman primates could favor the process of adaptation and subsequent emergence of zoonotic pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2851513  PMID: 18258013
Africa; Central; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV-1; immunocompromised host; zoonoses; dispatch
8.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Group M Protease in Cameroon: Genetic Diversity and Protease Inhibitor Mutational Features 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2002;40(3):837-845.
To establish a baseline for monitoring resistance to protease inhibitors (PIs) and examining the efficacy of their use among persons in Cameroon infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), we analyzed genetic variability and PI resistance-associated substitutions in PCR-amplified protease (PR) sequences in strains isolated from 110 HIV-1-infected, drug-naïve Cameroonians. Of the 110 strains, 85 were classified into six HIV-1 PR subtypes, A (n = 1), B (n = 1), F (n = 4), G (n = 7), H (n = 1), and J (n = 7), and a circulating recombinant form, CRF02-AG (n = 64). PR genes from the remaining 25 (23%) specimens were unclassifiable, whereas 2% (7 of 301) unclassifiable PR sequences were reported for a global collection. Two major PI resistance-associated mutations, 20M and 24I, were detected in strains from only two specimens, whereas secondary mutations were found in strains from all samples except one strain of subtype B and two strains of CRF02-AG. The secondary mutations showed the typical PI resistance-associated pattern for non-subtype B viruses in both classifiable and unclassifiable PR genes, with 36I being the predominant (99%) mutation, followed by 63P (18%), 20R (15%), 77I (13%), and 10I or 10V (11%). Of these mutations, dual and triple PI resistance-associated substitutions were found in 38% of all the Cameroonian strains. Compared with classifiable PR sequences, unclassifiable sequences had significantly more dual and triple substitutions (64% versus 30%; P = 0.004). Phenotypic and clinical evaluations are needed to estimate whether PI resistance during antiretroviral drug treatment occurs more rapidly in individuals infected with HIV-1 strains harboring multiple PI resistance-associated substitutions. This information may be important for determination of appropriate drug therapies for HIV-1-infected persons in Cameroon, where more than one-third of HIV-1 strains were found to carry dual and triple minor PI resistance-associated mutations.
PMCID: PMC120267  PMID: 11880402

Results 1-8 (8)