The Epidemiology of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 in Asia: Systematic Review, Meta-analyses, and Meta-regressions

Lara Khadr, Harfouche Manale, Ryosuke Omori, Guido Schwarzer, Hiam Chemaitelly, Laith Aburaddad

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8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) epidemiology in Asia was characterized by assessing seroprevalence levels and extent to which HSV-1 is isolated from clinically diagnosed genital ulcer disease (GUD) and genital herpes. METHODS: HSV-1 reports in Asia were systematically reviewed and synthesized, following PRISMA guidelines. Random-effects meta-analyses estimated pooled mean seroprevalence and proportion of HSV-1 detection in GUD and genital herpes. Random-effects meta-regressions identified predictors of seroprevalence and sources of between-study heterogeneity. RESULTS: Forty-nine relevant publications were identified. Fifty-four overall seroprevalence measures (182 stratified measures), and 8 and 24 proportions of HSV-1 detection in GUD and in genital herpes, respectively, were extracted. The pooled mean seroprevalence was 50.0% (n = 26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 41.3%-58.7%) for children and 76.5% (n = 151; 73.3%-79.6%) for adults. By age group, the pooled mean was lowest at 55.5% (n = 37; 95% CI, 47.5%-63.4%) in individuals aged <20 years, followed by 67.9% (n = 48; 62.4%-73.3%) in those aged 20-39 and 87.5% (n = 44; 83.4%-91.1%) in those aged ≥40 years. In meta-regression, age was the major predictor of seroprevalence. The mean proportion of HSV-1 detection was 5.6% (n = 8; 95% CI, 0.8%-13.6%) in GUD and 18.8% (n = 24; 12.0%-26.7%) in genital herpes. CONCLUSIONS: HSV-1 epidemiology is transitioning in Asia. HSV-1 is probably playing a significant role as a sexually transmitted infection, explaining one-fifth of genital herpes cases. There is a need for expanded seroprevalence monitoring and GUD/genital herpes etiological surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-772
Number of pages16
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019



  • genital herpes
  • genital ulcer disease
  • region
  • seroprevalence
  • synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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