Prevalence and factors associated with herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in patients attending a Baltimore City Emergency Department

Eshan U. Patel, Melanie A. Frank, Yu Hsiang Hsieh, Richard E. Rothman, Amy E.O. Baker, Chadd K. Kraus, Judy Shahan, Charlotte A. Gaydos, Gabor D. Kelen, Thomas C. Quinn, Oliver Laeyendecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a common sexually transmitted disease, but there is limited data on its epidemiology among urban populations. The urban Emergency Department (ED) is a potential venue for surveillance as it predominantly serves an inner city minority population. We evaluate the seroprevalence and factors associated with HSV-2 infection among patients attending the Johns Hopkins Hospital Adult Emergency Department (JHH ED). Methods: An identity unlinked-serosurvey was conducted between 6/2007 and 9/2007 in the JHH ED; sera were tested by the Focus HerpeSelect ELISA. Prevalence risk ratios (PRR) were used to determine factors associated with HSV-2 infection. Results: Of 3,408 serum samples, 1,853 (54.4%) were seropositive for HSV-2. Females (adjPRR = 1.47, 95% CI 1.38-1.56), non-Hispanic blacks (adjPRR = 2.03, 95% CI 1.82-2.27), single (adjPRR = 1.15, 95% CI 1.07-1.25), divorced (adjPRR = 1.28, 95% CI 1.15-1.41), and unemployed patients (adjPRR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.05-1.21) had significantly higher rates of HSV-2 infection. Though certain zip codes had significantly higher seroprevalence of HSV-2, this effect was completely attenuated when controlling for age and gender. Conclusions: Seroprevalence of HSV-2 in the JHH ED was higher than U.S. national estimates; however, factors associated with HSV-2 infection were similar. The high seroprevalence of HSV-2 in this urban ED highlights the need for targeted testing and treatment. Cross-sectional serosurveys in the urban ED may help to examine the epidemiology of HSV-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere102422
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 18 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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