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J Infect Dis. 2012 Nov 15;206(10):1497-503. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis543. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Association between transfusion with human herpesvirus 8 antibody-positive blood and subsequent mortality.

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  • 1Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Entebbe, Uganda.



Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) is endemic in Uganda and transmissible by blood. We evaluated mortality following transfusion of HHV-8 antibody-positive blood.


In a hospital-based, observational, prospective cohort study with a 6-month follow-up, we examined the effect of HHV-8 antibody-positive blood on transfusion recipients surviving at least 7 days.


Of 1092 recipients, 471 (43.1%) were transfused with HHV-8 antibody-positive blood. Median age was 1.8 years (range, 0.1-78); 111 (10.2%) died during follow-up. After adjusting for confounders (increasing age, human immunodeficiency virus infection, illness other than malaria, receipt of multiple transfusions), recipients of HHV-8 antibody-positive blood stored ≤4 days ("short-stored") were more likely to die than recipients of HHV-8 antibody-negative blood (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR], 1.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-3.05; P = .01). The AHR of the effect of each additional short-stored HHV-8 antibody-positive transfusion was 1.79 (95% CI, 1.33-2.41; P = .001).


Transfusion with short-stored HHV-8 antibody-positive blood was associated with an increased risk of death. Further research is warranted to determine if a causal pathway exists and to verify the observed association between acute HHV-8 infection and premature mortality.

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