BACKGROUND: Genital herpes results in considerable morbidity, including risk of neonatal herpes, and is increasingly being caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) type 1. Possibly children are less often HSV-1 infected, leaving them susceptible until sexual debut. We assessed changes in the Dutch HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence over time and determinants associated with HSV seropositivity.
METHODS: We used data from two population-based seroepidemiological studies conducted in 1995-6 and 2006-7 with a similar study design. Serum samples of 6 months to 44-year-old participants were tested for type-specific HSV antibodies using HerpesSelect® with a cut-off level of >1.10 for seropositivity. Age and sex-specific HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence was weighted for the Dutch population. Logistic regression was performed to investigate determinants associated with HSV seropositivity.
RESULTS: Overall, weighted HSV-1 seroprevalence was significantly lower in 2006-7 [42.7 % 95 % confidence interval (CI) 39.9-45.4] than in 1995-6 (47.7 % 95 % CI 44.8-50.7), especially among 10- to 14-year-olds. Overall, weighted HSV-2 seroprevalence remained stable: 6.8 % in 1995-6 and 6.0 % in 2006-7. Adults who ever had sexual intercourse were more often seropositive for HSV-1 [adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) 1.69 95 % CI 1.33-2.16] and HSV-2 (aOR 2.35 95 % CI 1.23-4.52). Age at sexual debut was the only sexual risk determinant associated with HSV-1 seropositivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Because of the lower HSV-1 seroprevalence in 2006-7 compared to 1995-6, more adults are susceptible to genital HSV-1, including women of reproductive age. Given the higher risk of neonatal herpes when HSV is acquired during pregnancy, prevention and control measures during pregnancy also targeting HSV-1, are important.
- Child, Preschool
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Herpes Genitalis/epidemiology
- Herpes Simplex/epidemiology
- Herpesvirus 1, Human/immunology
- Herpesvirus 2, Human/immunology
- Logistic Models
- Odds Ratio
- Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology
- Risk Factors
- Seroepidemiologic Studies
- Sexual Behavior
- Young Adult