Socio-economic and other correlates of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus seroprevalence among older adults in Sicily

Colleen Pelser, Francesco Vitale, Denise Whitby, Barry I. Graubard, Angelo Messina, Lorenzo Gafà, Elizabeth E. Brown, Lesley A. Anderson, Nino Romano, Carmela Lauria, James J. Goedert

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The virus that causes Kaposi sarcoma, KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV, also known as human herpesvirus 8) has an unusual distribution and poorly characterized modes of transmission. To clarify these issues, sociodemographic correlates of KSHV seroprevalence were examined in a population-based study. In 1,154 randomly sampled adults (aged 32-92, mean 71 years) throughout Sicily, KSHV antibodies were detected with four assays and a conservative algorithm. Seroprevalence was re-weighted to the population. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (OR, CI) from multivariate logistic regression were used to estimate associations of seroprevalence with interview data. KSHV seroprevalence was 8.5%, including 5.3% among men (N = 848) and 11.5% among women (N = 306, P = 0.22). Seroprevalence was higher with residence in a smaller community during childhood (Ptrend = 0.03) and working with plants/soil during adulthood (OR 2.9, CI 1.1-7.9); these were especially strong among women. Among men, seroprevalence was significantly associated with lower education (OR 2.6, CI 1.1-5.9) and migration to a larger community (OR 0.3, CI 0.1-0.9). Other demographic and household variables were unrelated to seroprevalence. From these data, KSHV in Sicily appears to be related to low socio-economic status, but micro-endemicity in small communities cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1938-1944
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Herpesviridae
  • Italy
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • Migration
  • Socio-economic status


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