A model is described that predicts patterns of polyomavirus SV40 infections and associated cancers in humans. The model proposes that SV40 infections were established in humans primarily by exposure to contaminated oral poliovaccines and that infections persist today in geographic regions where poor sanitation or living conditions allow maintenance of infections transmitted by a fecal/urine-oral route. Predictions from the model include that SV40 infections and virus-associated malignancies will be restricted geographically and demographically and that in developed countries, such as the US, SV40 prevalence rates will be generally very low. The model highlights the importance of selection of populations for investigations of SV40 human infections. This model can explain inconsistencies in the published literature of SV40 infections in humans and can guide the design of future studies.
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