Simian foamy virus infection in humans: prevalence and management

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2009 Jun;7(5):569-80. doi: 10.1586/eri.09.39.


Simian foamy viruses (SFVs) are highly prevalent in all nonhuman primate species and can infect humans following occupational and non-occupational exposure to infected animals and their tissues, blood or body fluids. Virus transmission results in a stable, persistent infection that seems to be latent. SFV infections are thus far nonpathogenic, with no evidence of adverse clinical outcome in their natural nonhuman primate hosts or by experimental injection in animals and upon cross-species transmission in humans. Since the emergence of pathogenic viruses from nonpathogenic viruses upon cross-species infection is well-documented for several retroviruses, it is prudent to take necessary precautions to deter SFV infections in humans. These steps will help prevent the emergence of a novel pathogen and reduce the risk of transmission of another potential pathogenic human retrovirus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Primate Diseases / transmission
  • Primate Diseases / virology
  • Primates / virology
  • Retroviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Retroviridae Infections / prevention & control*
  • Retroviridae Infections / transmission
  • Retroviridae Infections / veterinary
  • Simian foamy virus* / classification
  • Simian foamy virus* / genetics
  • Simian foamy virus* / pathogenicity
  • Species Specificity
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission