Seroprevalence studies indicate that most primary infections with BK virus (BKV) and JC virus (JCV) occur in the first and second decades of life, respectively. Relatively little is known about the transmission of these agents, including the primary source of human exposure, the portal of entry, and the pathophysiology of life-long viral persistence. We sought to determine if simian virus 40 (SV40) excretion could be detected in the urine of healthy children and to define the age-related prevalence of polyomavirus shedding in this population. A point prevalence study of polyomavirus shedding was conducted in healthy children using rigorous enrollment criteria. Urine samples were collected from healthy children, age from 3 to 18 years, during routine evaluation at two urban pediatric clinics. Qualitative PCR analysis was performed using primers that detect a conserved region of the T-antigen gene of BKV, JCV, and SV40. The identity of polyomaviruses detected was determined by DNA sequence analysis and/or PCR amplification of other regions of the viral genomes. Seven of 72 (9.7%) urine samples were positive for polyomaviruses: three with BKV (ages 4, 6, 13), two with SV40 (ages 6, 16), two with BKV and SV40 co-excretion (ages 6, 15), and none with JCV. DNA sequence analysis confirmed the identity of viruses detected. These results suggest that the timing of SV40 infections in humans may be similar to that of BKV and that urine from healthy children could contribute to the ubiquity of BKV infection early in life.
2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.