Cattani, Paola and Cerimele, Francesca and Porta, Daniela and Graffeo, Rosalia and Ranno, Stefania and Marchetti, Simona and Ricci, Riccardo and Capodicasa, N. and Fuga, L. and Amico, R. and Cherchi, Gian Mario and Gazzilli, M. and Zanetti, Stefania Anna Lucia and Fadda, Giovanni (2003) Age-specific seroprevalence of human herpesvirus 8 in Mediterranean regions. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Vol. 9 (4), p. 274-279. eISSN 1469-0691. Article.
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Objective: human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) is believed to be transmitted mainly by sexual contact; epidemiological data from Africa show, however, that non-sexual transmission routes may also play an important role. To evaluate better the distribution of HHV8 infection in the Mediterranean area, we performed an age-specific seroprevalence study.
Methods: Sera were collected from subjects from different geographical areas. The sera were analyzed by immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A total of 1083 patients were studied, 667 patients from various regions of Italy and 416 from Albania. The patients were stratified into six age groups. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between HHV8 and demographic data.
Results: an overall seropositivity rate of 17.6% was observed. The highest rate was observed in Sardinia (25.0%) and the lowest was found in Albania (13.9%). The prevalence rate increased linearly with age, from 9.7% in patients belonging to the 0–14 years age group to 26.3% for patients more than 59 years old. Seropositivity for HHV8 was significantly associated with membership of the 59 years-plus age group. Rates of seropositivity were significantly higher in patients from central southern Italy (OR = 1.7) and Sardinia (OR = 1.8) than in patients from Albania.
Conclusions: the data suggest that HHV8 is widespread in the Mediterranean area, including regions like Albania that have not been previously investigated. The statistically significant association between HHV8 seropositivitity and increasing age suggests that non-sexual transmission routes may be involved in the spread of the virus.
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