The seroprevalence of cytomegalovirus infection in Belgium anno 2002 and 2006: a comparative analysis with hepatitis A virus seroprevalence

Epidemiol Infect. 2019 Jan;147:e154. doi: 10.1017/S0950268819000487.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is endemic worldwide but its seroprevalence varies widely. The goal of this study was to estimate the age-specific seroprevalence of CMV infection in Belgium based on two cross-sectional serological datasets from 2002 and 2006. The seroprevalence was estimated relying on diagnostic test results based on cut-off values pre-specified by the manufacturers of the tests as well as relying on mixture models applied to continuous pathogen-specific immunoglobulin G antibody titre concentrations. The age-specific seroprevalence of hepatitis A virus (HAV), based on three Belgian cross-sectional serological datasets from 1993, 2002 and 2006, was used as a comparator since individuals acquire lifelong immunity upon recovery, implying an increasing seroprevalence with age. The age group weighted overall CMV seroprevalence derived from the mixture model was 32% (95% confidence interval (CI) 31-34%) in 2002 and 31% (95% CI 30-32%) in 2006. We demonstrated that CMV epidemiology differs from the immunizing infection HAV. This was the first large-scale study of CMV and HAV serial datasets in Belgium, estimating seroprevalence specified by age and birth cohort.

Keywords: Cytomegalovirus; estimating age and birth cohort-specific seroprevalence; hepatitis A virus; mixture modelling; seroincidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A virus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G