Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus may be vertically transmitted

מתוך medicontext.co.il

By Michelle Beaulieu Cooke

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – New findings suggest that Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) can be transmitted from mother to child, adding new fuel to a long-standing debate on the routes of transmission of this virus.

However, the risk of transmission remains low, and the consequences of KSHV infection in infants remain unclear, Dr. Charles Wood, of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and multinational colleagues explain in the December 1st issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Dr. Wood and associates investigated the vertical transmission of KSHV from 89 seropositive mothers to their newborn infants. Of the 89 infants, only 2 tested positive for KSHV at birth.

The new study "suggests that KSHV can be transmitted during pregnancies, but it is very rare," Dr. Wood told Reuters Health. Nevertheless, he recommends counseling seropositive mothers about this risk and perhaps even screening for KSHV during pregnancy in high-risk women. However, mothers should also be advised that "there is only an association between this virus and Kaposi's sarcoma; it is a risk factor but not the sole factor that causes Kaposi's sarcoma."

Little is known about the risk of developing Kaposi's sarcoma in KSHV-infected infants and "this is one of the issues we are looking at," Dr. Wood told Reuters Health.

Dr. Wood added that more information is needed on exactly how KSHV is passed from mother to child, though he suspects that the virus is transmitted primarily during or after birth and that saliva is a likely vehicle for transmission.

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