Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Seroprevalence among Different National Populations of Middle East and North African Men

Soha R. Dargham, Gheyath K. Nasrallah, Enas S. Al-Absi, Layla I. Mohammed, Rana S. Al-Disi, Mariam Y. Nofal, Laith J. Abu-Raddad

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Background There are limited data on herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We examined country- and age-specific HSV-2 seroprevalence among select MENA populations residing in Qatar. Methods Sera were collected from male blood donors attending Hamad Medical Corporation between June 2013 and June 2016. Specimens were screened for anti-HSV-2 IgG antibodies following a 2-test algorithm: HerpeSelect 2 ELISA was used to identify HSV-2-positive specimens, and Euroline-WB was used to confirm positive and equivocal specimens for final HSV-2 status. Trends and associations with HSV-2 seropositivity were assessed. Results Of the 2077 tested sera, 61 were found and confirmed positive. The proportion of those confirmed positive increased steadily with HerpeSelect 2 ELISA index value, ranging from 16.3% for index values of 1.101 to 1.999 to 92.9% for index values of 4 or greater. Nationality-specific seroprevalence was 6.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1%-8.8%) in Qataris, 5.3% (95% CI, 2.5%-11.1%) in Iranians, 4.2% (95% CI, 1.8%-9.5%) in Lebanese, 3.1% (95% CI, 1.2%-7.7%) in Sudanese, 3.0% (95% CI, 1.4%-6.4%) in Palestinians, 2.2% (95% CI, 1.1%-4.3%) in Egyptians, 2.0% (95% CI, 1.0%-5.0%) in Syrians, 1.0% (95% CI, 0.3%-3.6%) in Jordanians, 0.7% (95% CI, 0.1%-3.7%) in Yemenis, and 0.5% (95% CI, 0.1%-2.8%) in Pakistanis. There was evidence for higher seroprevalence in older age groups. Conclusions The seroprevalence of HSV-2 was in the range of few percentage points. There were no major differences in seroprevalence by nationality. These findings add to our understanding of HSV-2 epidemiology in MENA and indicate unmet needs for sexual health and control of sexually transmitted infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-487
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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