Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2003; 187:559–68. Copyright © 2003 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Used by permission.


The specific route and timing of human herpesvirus (HHV) 8 infection in regions where Kaposi sarcoma is endemic are not known. HHV-8 infection and any risk factors that may be associated with HHV-8, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection, were monitored during the 12-month post-delivery period for 416 mothers and 485 infants from Lusaka, Zambia. HHV-8 incident infection rates during this period were 3.2 and 5.3 infections/100 person-years for infants and mothers, respectively. HHV-8 infection among infants was not associated with HHV-8 or HIV-1 infection in the mother. Among the HHV-8–positive infants, 2 of 12 tested were found to have HHV-8 DNA in their peripheral blood mononuclear cells at birth, which suggests that in utero infection is possible. However, most HHV-8–positive infants appeared to have acquired infection either intrapartum or postpartum. The present study indicates that transmission of HHV- 8 to infants can occur early and is likely via multiple routes.

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