Association between malaria exposure and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus seropositivity in Uganda
Unlike other herpes viruses, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) is not ubiquitous worldwide and is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons for this are unclear. As part of a wider investigation of factors that facilitate transmission in Uganda, a high prevalence country, we examined the association between antimalaria antibodies and seropositivity against KSHV.
Antibodies against P. falciparum merozoite surface protein (PfMSP)-1, P. falciparum apical membrane antigen (PfAMA)-1 and KSHV antigens (ORF73 and K8.1) were measured in samples from 1164 mothers and 1227 children.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus seroprevalence was 69% among mothers and 15% children. Among mothers, KSHV seroprevalence increased with malaria antibody titres: from 60% to 82% and from 54% to 77%, comparing those with the lowest and highest titres for PfMSP-1 and PfAMA-1, respectively (P < 0.0001). Among children, only antibodies to PfAMA-1 were significantly associated with KSHV seropositivity, (P < 0.0001). In both mothers and children, anti-ORF73 antibodies were more strongly associated with malaria antibodies than anti-K8.1 antibodies.
The association between malaria exposure and KSHV seropositivity suggests that malaria is a cofactor for KSHV infection or reactivation.