PURPOSE: Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a gammaherpesvirus recently discovered among AIDS patients with Kaposi's sarcoma, is a potential candidate for screening in blood and plasma donors. While a number of studies have assessed KSHV infection among U.S. blood donors, larger-scale population-based studies would be necessary to develop more refined estimates of the magnitude and variation of KSHV infection across different geographic regions of the U.S. blood supply. The goal of the present study, therefore, was to determine the seroprevalence of KSHV infection and to assess demographic correlates of KSHV infection among south Texas blood donors. METHODS: KSHV infection was determined using specific serologic assays that measure antibodies to KSHV latent and lytic antigens. RESULTS: The overall seroprevalence of KSHV in Texas blood donors (15.0%) is substantially higher than previously reported among blood donor and general population samples in the United States. This high rate of KSHV infection persisted across most of the sociodemographic subgroups under study but was particularly elevated among participants with less than a high school education. The infection rate also increased linearly with age. CONCLUSIONS: The elevated infection rate reported in the present study suggests that screening methods to detect KSHV infection in blood donors should be considered. In view of the etiologic role of KSHV for several malignancies, it would be important for future studies to directly assess the risk of KSHV transmission via blood transfusion.
- Blood donors
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