Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



Published in the International Journal of Cancer (2001) 94: 749-752. Publication of the International Union Against Cancer. Copyright 2001, Wiley-Liss. Used by permission.


Little is presently known about the specific routes of transmission of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). To investigate whether this agent might be transmitted vertically from mother to infant, we conducted a study on 89 KSHV seropositive mothers and their newborn infants. Thirteen mothers (14.6%) had KSHV DNA detected in their peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Two of 89 samples drawn at birth from infants born to KSHV seropositive mothers had KSHV DNA detectable within their PBMC. These findings suggest that KSHV can be transmitted perinatally, but infrequently. Other routes of transmission such as horizontal transmission remain the most likely means of KSHV transmission.