To elucidate the roles of human herpesvirus (HHV)-6 and -7 in pregnant women, peripheral blood samples and genital tract secretions were collected serially from pregnant women, and both serological testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were carried out to detect viral DNA in the secretions. HHV-6 or HHV-7 Immunoglobulin(Ig)M antibodies were not detected in 432 plasma samples collected from pregnant women and cord blood, but IgG antibodies against both viruses were detected in all plasma samples. Significant increases in HHV-6 and HHV-7 IgG antibodies were observed in two (1.6%) and three (2.4%) pregnant women respectively of a total of 123 cases. HHV-6 DNA was detected in the genital tract in three (3.7%) of 82 pregnant women at the first trimester, and in 10 (12.2%) of the same women in the third trimester. The detection rate in the third trimester was significantly higher than that in the first trimester (P=0.043). Although HHV-7 DNA was detected in the genital tract of two (2.7%) and seven (9.6%) pregnant women of a total of 73 during the first and third trimesters respectively, there was no statistical difference in the detection rate of the viral DNA between the trimesters. Because a significant increase in HHV-6 IgG antibodies was detected in only two pregnant women, it was not possible to carry out statistical analysis to determine the relationship between HHV-6 infection and associated clinical features. Although there was a significant increase in HHV-7 antibody titers in three pregnant women, a positive correlation between the virus infection and the clinical features was not demonstrated. There was no statistical association between virus shedding in the genital tract and the clinical features examined in this study.
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