Objectives: On the background of a high prevalence of HHV-8 infection in pre-pubertal Central African children, this study investigated the potential for in utero transmission of HHV-8.
Patients: Gabonese pregnant women were invited to provide peripheral and cord blood samples for serological and PCR diagnostics of HHV-8 infection at delivery for this cross-sectional survey.
Results: Out of 344 participants 120 (35%, 95% CI: 30-40%) were serologically positive for HHV-8. 31% (95% CI: 22-40%) of cord blood samples of seropositive women had detectable IgG antibodies. Among all seropositive participants HHV-8 was detected by PCR in one maternal peripheral blood sample at delivery (1%, 95% CI: 0.2-7%) and in none of cord blood samples. There was no association between demographic characteristics and infection status. Similarly, there was no difference in risk for premature delivery, low birth weight, and maternal anaemia in HHV-8 seropositive women.
Discussion: These data suggest a high seroprevalence of HHV-8 infection in pregnant women, however viraemia at delivery does not commonly occur in Central Africa. Based on these observations it may be speculated that infection of children may occur more commonly either antepartum or later on in infancy and childhood.
Keywords: Cord blood; Human herpes virus-8; Pregnancy; Sub-Saharan Africa; Vertical transmission.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.