Prevalence of human herpesviruses infections in nonmalignant tonsils: The SPLIT study

Aboud Kourieh, Tarik Gheit, Massimo Tommasino, Véronique Dalstein, Gary M Clifford, Jean Lacau St Guily, Christine Clavel, Silvia Franceschi, Jean-Damien Combes, SPLIT study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of all known human herpesviruses (HHV) in tonsils of an age-stratified large sample of immunocompetent children and adults. METHODS: Patients undergoing tonsillectomy for benign indications were recruited in 19 French hospitals. After resection, the entire outer surfaces of right and left half tonsils were extensively brushed. A highly sensitive species-specific multiplex assay was used to detect herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), HSV2, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV; types 1 and 2), and human cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA in 688, as well as varicella zoster virus (VZV), HHV6A, HHV6B, HHV7, and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) DNA in a subset of 440 tonsil brushings. RESULTS: Overall 85% of tonsil brushing samples were infected with at least one HHV species. HHV7 and EBV were the most prevalent (≈70%), followed by HHV6B (≈50%), HSV1, CMV, VZV (≈2%), and KSHV and HSV2 (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-697
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • *epidemiology
  • *human herpesvirus
  • *oropharynx
  • *prevalence
  • *tonsil brushing


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