The age-related prevalence of antibodies to herpesviruses was compared in England and Hong Kong. Altogether 327 sera from England and 266 sera from Hong Kong were tested for antibodies to herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). Herpesvirus infections were common in both countries but generally were acquired earlier and were more prevalent in Hong Kong. Over 90% of children in Hong Kong were infected with VZV, EBV, and HHV-6 by 8 years of age. HSV and CMV were the least prevalent childhood infections in both countries, although, 30-40% of babies in Hong Kong became infected during the first year of life. CMV infections were rare throughout childhood in the English cohort. Overcrowding and early attendance at kindergarten may aid more efficient and earlier transmission of herpesvirus in Hong Kong. The high prevalence of CMV in particular may have implications for the management of young pregnant women and organ transplant recipients in Hong Kong.