Seroprevalence data of human herpesviruses (HHVs) are limited for sub-Saharan Africa. These are important to provide an indication of potential burden of HHV-related disease, in particular in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals who are known to be at increased risk of these conditions in the Western world.
In this cross-sectional study among 405 HIV-infected and antiretroviral therapy naive individuals in rural South Africa the seroprevalence of HHVs was: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) (98%), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) (87%), varicella zoster virus (VZV) (89%), and 100% for both Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Independent factors associated with VZV seropositivity were low educational status and having children. Lack of in-house access to drinking water was independently associated with positive HSV-1 serostatus, whereas Shangaan ethnicity was associated with HSV-2 seropositivity. Increasing age was associated with higher IgG titres to both EBV and CMV, whereas CD4 cell count was negatively associated with EBV and CMV IgG titres. Moreover, IgG titres of HSV-1 and 2, VZV and CMV, and CMV and EBV were positively correlated. The high HHV seroprevalence emphasises the importance of awareness of these viral infections in HIV-infected individuals in South Africa.
In a recently published ANC survey on HSV-2 prevalence in four provinces (not Limpopo though), prevalence was in a similar range for HIV-infected individuals, but much higher than among those without HIV infection.
The study, High Seroprevalence of Human Herpesviruses in HIV-Infected Individuals Attending Primary Healthcare Facilities in Rural South Africa, which was published in a science journal Plos One, is available for you to read below: