Find more content written by:  Martien W. Borgdorff
  • Volume 62 , Number 4
  • Page: 612–3

Dr. Borgdorff replies

Martien W. Borgdorff

To the Editor:

The papers of Gormus, et al. (3) and Baskin, et al. (1) suggest that SIV infection increases the risk for the development of leprosy in experimentally inoculated rhesus monkeys, although their results were not statistically significant (3/5 SIV-infected and 6/29 non-SIV-infected monkeys developed leprosy; Fisher's exact test p > 0.05). The papers by Ponnighaus, et al. (4) and Borgdorff, et al. (2), on the other hand, aimed at estimating the risk of HIV-1 infection for the development of leprosy in humans.

Once cannot simply extrapolate statements on SIV in rhesus monkeys to those on HIV-1 in humans. However, if both SIV in rhesus monkeys and HIV-1 in humans increase the risk for developing leprosy (as some, although not all, of the evidence suggests), the former may be a good model for the latter.


- Martien W. Borgdorff, M.D.

Royal Tropical Institute
Mauritskade 63
1092 AD Amsterdam
The Netherlands



1. BASKJN, G. B., GORMUS, B. J., MARTIN, L. N., MURPHEY-CORB, M., WALSH, G. P. and MEYERS, W. M. Pathology of dual Mycobacterium leprae and simian immunodeficiency virus infection in rhesus monkeys. Int. J. Lepr. 58(1990)358-364.

2. BORGDORFF, M. W., VAN DEN BROEK, J., CHUM, H., KLOKKE, A. N., GRAF, P., BARONGO, L. R. and NEWELL, J. N. HIV-1 infection as a risk factor for leprosy: a case-control study in Tanzania. Int. J. Lepr. 61(1993)556-562.

3. GORMUS, B. J., MURPHEY-CORB, M., MARTIN, L. N., ZHANG, J., BASKIN, G. B., TRYGG, C. B., WALSH, G. P. and MEYERS, W. M. Interactions between simian immunodeficiency virus and Mycobacterium leprae in experimentally inoculated rhesus monkeys. J. Infect. Dis. 160(1989)405-413.

4. PONNIGHAUS, J. M., MWANJASI, L. J., FINE, P. E. M., SHAW, M.-A., TURNER, A. C, OXBORROW, S. M., LUCAS, S. B., JENKINS, P. A., STERNE, J. A. C. and BLISS, L. IS HIV infection a risk factor for leprosy? Int. J. Lepr. 59(1991)221-228.

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