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.