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  • Open Access

Geographic variation of the prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and risk factors for transmission in women from 8 countries in four continents

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Infectious Agents and Cancer20094 (Suppl 2) :P46

  • Published:


  • Geographical Variation
  • Transmission Route
  • Lifetime Experience
  • Heterosexual Transmission
  • Powerful Indication

Transmission routes of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) in the general population are poorly understood. Sexual transmission appears to be common in homosexual men, but heterosexual transmission has not been clearly documented. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of KSHV in the female general populations of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand and Korea to explore geographical variation and potential heterosexual transmission. Samples and questionnaire data were available from a study organized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to estimate the prevalence of distinct sexually transmitted infections. The study includes 10,963 women from 10 centers with questionnaire information available on socio-demographic, reproductive and sexual lifetime experiences, smoking habits. HPV DNA detection was previously measured. Antibodies against KSHV encoded K8.1 and orf73 were determined. Prevalence of antibodies to any of the two antigens k8.1 or orf73 was 13.9 percent with an important geographical variation (range = Nigeria 46%–3.8% in Spain). Antibodies increased with increasing age particularly in high prevalent countries such as Nigeria, Colombia and Costa Rica. KSHV was not related to education, age at first sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners, number of children, patterns of use of oral contraceptives or presence of cervical HPV DNA. A decreased prevalence was observed with increasing number of cigarettes smoked per day (p = 0.000).

The study provides reliable and comparable estimates of KSHV in diverse cultural settings across four continents and provides a powerful indication of absence of heterosexual transmission of KSHV.

Authors’ Affiliations

>Institut Català d'Oncologia, Barcelona, Spain
National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland, USA
Nacional Institute, Bangkok, Thailand
Hung Vuong Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Asia
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Instituto de Oncologia Angel H Roffo, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Proyecto Epidemiologico Guanacaste, Fundaciόn INCIENSA, San Josée, Costa Rica
Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, Bogota, Colombia


© Whitby et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.