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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1998 Sep;17(9):792-5.

Risk factors for the early acquisition of human herpesvirus 6 and human herpesvirus 7 infections in children.

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  • 1Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA.



Human herpesviruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7) are common infections in children, but risk factors for their early acquisition have not been described.


Excess sera from children 12 to 31 months of age enrolled in a cross-sectional, random survey were tested for human herpesviruses 6 and 7 infection, as measured by using immuno-blot and immunofluorescence assays.


Of 164 children 131 (80%) had antibody to HHV-6, and 79 (47%) of 167 had antibody to HHV-7. In logistic regression analysis low income [odds ratio (OR), 2.9; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.02 to 8.7] and having more than 1 sibling (OR=2.1, 95% CI=0.9 to 5.1) were risk factors for HHV-6 infection after adjusting for age, whereas month of test (OR=2.7, 95% CI=1.3 to 5.9) and Black race (OR=2.0, 95% CI=0.9, 4.6) were associated with a higher prevalence of HHV-7 infection. In contrast having ever been breast-fed appeared to protect against HHV-7 infection (OR=0.5, 95% CI=0.3 to 1.1).


Despite studies linking both HHV-6 and HHV-7 with exanthem subitum, risk factors for the early acquisition of HHV-6 and HHV-7 are distinct. Subsequent studies investigating the transmission of HHV-6 should explore family size and other factors associated with poverty, whereas breast-feeding should be examined as a protective factor for HHV-7 infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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