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Type specific seroprevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 in four geographical regions of Poland
  1. J S Smith1,
  2. M Rosińska2,
  3. A Trzcińska3,
  4. J M Pimenta4,
  5. B Litwińska3,
  6. J Siennicka3
  1. 1University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
  3. 3Department of Virology, National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
  4. 4Worldwide Epidemiology, GlaxoSmithKline R&D, Greenford, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Joanna Siennicka
 Department of Virology, National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland; jsiennicka{at}


Objective: To examine the type specific seroprevalence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) types 1 and 2 infections, stratified by age and gender, and associated risk factors for HSV-2 seropositivity in Poland.

Methods: 2257 serum samples of individuals from 15–65 years were randomly selected from serum banks in four different geographical regions of Poland, including the Zachodnio-pomorskie, Warmińsko-mazurskie, Lubelskie, and Mazowieckie districts. Type specific serum antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 were detected using HerpeSelect IgG ELISA tests.

Results: Overall prevalences of type specific HSV-1 and HSV-2 serum antibodies were 90.4% and 9.3%, respectively. Age standardised HSV-2 seroprevalence was higher in women (9.7%) than men (8.8%) (p = 0.06), and increased notably with age from 4% in 15–24 year olds to 12% in those aged 50–65 years. HSV-1 seroprevalence was consistently higher than HSV-2 seroprevalence in each specific age group, ranging from 74.5% in 15–24 year olds to 98.8% in 50–65 year olds. HSV-2 seroprevalence varied significantly by geographical region, with the highest prevalence in the Zachodnio-pomorskie district (12%). Significant multivariate risk factors for HSV-2 seropositivity included older age, female gender, and geographical place of residence.

Conclusion: This large survey found a notably high seroprevalence of HSV-1, even among young female adolescents 15–19 years of age (80%). HSV-2 seropositivity was under 12% in all age groups surveyed in Poland, tending to be among the lowest overall HSV-2 seropositivity rates reported thus far in Europe.

  • HSV, herpes simplex virus
  • NIH, National Institute of Hygiene
  • STI, sexually transmitted infections
  • herpes simplex virus
  • seropositivity
  • Poland

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  • Funding: GlaxoSmithKline Research & Development.

  • Competing interests: JMP is a full time employee of GSK. All other others have no competing interests to declare.