Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, is etiologically associated with Kaposi's sarcoma and other rare malignancies. HHV-8 infection is common in certain areas of Africa and Italy, but occurs in only 0-15% of populations in North America and Europe. The epidemiology and prevalence of HHV-8 infection among children in the United States has not been determined, but is assumed to be low based on limited studies. The objective of this study was to determine the seroprevalence and possible risk factors of HHV-8 infection in children living in south Texas. Questionnaire data were collected and HHV-8 serologic tests were performed from a consecutive, non-probability sample of 123 healthy children (ages 4-13 years) attending general pediatric clinics in south Texas. Serum was tested for HHV-8 antibodies by latent immunofluorescence assay and ORF65 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed by immunoblot. HHV-8 prevalence and 95 percent confidence intervals were calculated using standard epidemiologic methods. Logistic regression was used to assess independent risk factors associated with HHV-8 seropositivity. The overall prevalence of HHV-8 infection was 26%. No statistically significant associations were exhibited between HHV-8 prevalence and the variables under study. The prevalence of HHV-8 infection among children in south Texas, particularly among those under the age of 12 years, indicates that nonsexual transmission of this virus is likely to occur among this population. Future investigations of larger study samples will be necessary to develop an understanding of specific routes and risk factors of HHV-8 transmission among children in south Texas.
- Human herpesvirus 8
- Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus
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