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Indian J Med Res. 2004 Aug;120(2):106-10.

Asymptomatic herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection among pregnant women in Turkey.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Mustafa Kemal University, Turkey.



A large proportion of individuals with serologic evidence of infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) are asymptomatic. HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes infections. The acquisition of genital herpes during pregnancy has been associated with spontaneous abortion, premature labour and congenital and neonatal herpes. The present study was undertaken to determine asymtomatic genital HSV-2 shedding and seroprevalence of HSV-2 infection among asymptomatic pregnant women at the time of delivery in Adana, Turkey.


Asymptomatic 130 pregnant women without a history of genital herpes were enrolled in the study. HSV-2 shedding was determined by viral culture of the swabs collected from cervix and vulva and HSV-2 antigen was detected by direct immunofluorescence assay (IFA), HSV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies were detected by HSV-2 type specific IgG and IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


HSV-2 IgG and IgM antibodies were found in 82 (63.1%) and 18 (11.3%) of 130 pregnant women. HSV-2 type-specific antigen was detected in 22 (16.9%) pregnant women by IFA test, 17 (13.1%) of whom had HSV-2 IgM antibodies. HSV-2 was isolated only in 3 women.


The seroprevalence of HSV-2 (63.1%) and genital HSV-2 infection (16.9%) was high among asymptomatic pregnant women in Adana, Turkey. Therefore, to reduce the risk of neonatal herpes, HSV-2 type-specific antibodies should be detected in pregnant women using serological tests that allow to identify women with asymptomatic or subclinical genital HSV-2 infection and those susceptible to primary genital HSV-2 infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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