An epidemiologic study of herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 infection in Japan based on type-specific serological assays

Epidemiol Infect. 1998 Mar;120(2):179-86. doi: 10.1017/s095026889700856x.


A seroepidemiologic study of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) was performed on Japanese adults. Serum samples collected between 1985-9 from a total of 536 healthy adults, female prostitutes, males with sexually transmitted diseases (STD), homosexual men, and pregnant women were studied by immunodot assays using HSV type-specific antigens, glycoproteins G (gG1 and gG2). HSV-1 infections correlated mostly with age and was widely prevalent among subjects < 40 years. HSV-2 prevalence varied greatly among subgroups defined by sexual activity and was associated with risk behaviours for prostitution, infection with STD, and homosexual activity. HSV-2 seroprevalence was highest among prostitutes (80%), lowest among pregnant women (7%), and intermediate in STD patients (23%) and homosexuals (24%). Because HSV-1 infection during childhood has been decreasing, primary genital HSV-2 infection, with its higher frequency of clinical manifestations, will become a greater burden to the public health in Japan.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Viral / blood
  • Blood Donors
  • Female
  • Herpes Genitalis / blood
  • Herpes Genitalis / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Genitalis / virology
  • Herpes Simplex / blood
  • Herpes Simplex / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human* / immunology
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human* / immunology
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Work
  • Sexual Behavior


  • Antigens, Viral