Objective: Thirty-five years after herpesviruses were suggested to induce atherosclerosis sero-epidemiological evidence on Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV) remains sparse and controversial. We aimed to investigate the relationship between HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Methods and results: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 14,415 participants (mean age 34.3 years, range 20-49) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010. Serum IgG-antibodies to HSV were measured by enzymatic immunodot assay and CVD were self-reported. CVD prevalence was 1.8%; 51.3% of participants were infected with HSV-1, 7.5% with HSV-2, and 15.2% with both. After adjusting for demographics, socioeconomic status, comorbidities, STD, and CVD risk factors, seropositivity to HSV-2 was positively associated with CVD (Odds ratio [OR] 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09-2.21, P = 0.014), but not with HSV-1 (OR 1.13, 95% CI: 0.79-1.62).
Conclusion: HSV-2 may be associated with premature CVD, but not HSV-1.
Keywords: Herpes simplex virus; Herpesvirus; NHANES; Premature cardiovascular diseases.
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