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J Med Virol. 2007 Oct;79(10):1555-61.

Diverse genotypes of Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) identified in infant blood infections in African childhood-KS and HIV/AIDS endemic region.

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Virology Department, University Teaching Hospital, University of Zambia Medical School, Lusaka, Zambia.


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV or HHV-8) has been associated with several neoplasias, including childhood endemic Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). It is possible that strain genotypes could contribute to the differences in regional presentation (mainly sub-Saharan Africa), childhood infection, lack of male sex bias, distinct disseminated forms and rapid fatality observed for childhood endemic KS. Early studies, at the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, identified only the K1-A5 genotype in childhood KS biopsies as well as blood of a few HIV positive and negative febrile infants in Zambia, a highly endemic region. This current enlarged study analyses blood infections of 200 hospitalized infants (6-34 months age) with symptoms of fever as well as upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea, rash or rhinitis. KSHV and HIV viraemia and were prevalent in this group, 22% and 39%, respectively. Multiple markers at both variable ends of the genome (K1, K12, and K14.1/K15) were examined, showing diverse previously adult-linked genotypes (K1 A2, A5, B, C3, D, with K12 B1 and B2 plus K14.1/K15 P or M) detected in both HIV positive and negative infants, demonstrating little restriction on KSHV genotypes for infant/childhood transmission in a childhood endemic KS endemic region. This supports the interpretation that the acquisition of childhood KSHV infections and subsequent development of KS are due to additional co-factors.

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