Patterns of endemicity of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) are still undefined in some European populations, such as those from Western Balkan countries. Serum samples from 605 human immunodeficiency virus-seronegative subjects (299 Albanians and 306 Kosovars) were tested for the presence of HHV8 antibodies to a capsid-related open reading frame (ORF65)-encoded protein and a latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) to determine HHV8 seroprevalence in populations from Albania and from the Kosovo region of former Yugoslavia. Levels of cocirculation with hepatitis A (HAV) and hepatitis B (HBV) viruses were also determined. HHV8 antibodies to at least one of the two antigens were detected in 28.8% of Albanians and 18% of Kosovars. The seroprevalence of HHV8 was found to be 25.0 and 16.8% in Albanian and Kosovar children (≤ 15 years old), respectively. No association was found between HHV8 seropositivity and serological markers for hepatitis A (total anti-HAV) and hepatitis B (antibodies to the core antigen). HHV8 infection is widespread among Albanians and Kosovars, as is the case in populations of the Mediterranean basin. The high HHV8 seroprevalence observed in children as well as the lack of correlation with HAV and HBV infections suggest that intrafamilial, non-fecal-oral, and non-parenteral routes of HHV8 transmission may also be predominant in some populations from the Western Balkan countries.
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