Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Community Health Sciences; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Background: The seroprevalence of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection ranges from 30 to 90 % in developed countries. Reliable estimates of HCMV seroprevalence are not available for Pakistan. This study determined the seroprevalence and sociodemographic factors associated with HCMV infection in adult populations of Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: A seroprevalence survey was conducted on 1000 adults, including residents of two semi-urban communities, and visitors to a government and a private hospital. Questionnaire-based interviews were conducted. Sera were analysed for HCMV-specific IgG and IgM. Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test was used for comparing sociodemographic variables against seropositivity of HCMV-IgG or IgM. Multiple logistic regression modeling was performed for IgG seroprevalence and adjusted odds ratios were computed.
Results: The seroprevalence of HCMV-IgG and IgM was 93.2 and 4.3 % respectively. 95.3 % of individuals who were IgM seropositive were also seropositive for IgG. Around 6 % (15/250) of women of childbearing age remained uninfected and were therefore susceptible to primary infection. HCMV-IgG seroprevalence was associated with being female (p = 0.001), increasing age (p = 0.002) and crowding index (p = 0.003) and also with lower levels of both education (p < 0.001) and income (p = 0.008). Seroprevalence also differed significantly by marital status (p = 0.008) and sampling location (p < 0.001). A logistic regression model for HCMV-IgG seroprevalence showed associations with being female (OR = 1.89; 95 % CI: 1.10–3.25), increasing age (OR = 3.95; 95 % CI: 1.79–8.71) and decreasing income (OR = 0.72; 95 % CI: 0.54–0.96). A strong association was observed between increased seroprevalence of HCMV-IgM and decreasing household size (p = 0.008).
Conclusions: Seroprevalence of HCMV is very high in Pakistan, although 6 % of women of childbearing age remain at risk of primary infection. The IgM seropositivity observed in some individuals living in small household size (1–3 individuals) with persistent HCMV infection could have resulted from a recurrent HCMV infection. Future longitudinal research in pregnant women and neonates is required to study the trends in HCMV seroprevalence over time in Pakistan for the development of a potential HCMV prevention and vaccination programme.


BMC Public Health

Included in

Pathology Commons