The convergent epidemiology of tuberculosis and human cytomegalovirus infection.

Cobelens, F; Nagelkerke, N; Fletcher, H; (2018) The convergent epidemiology of tuberculosis and human cytomegalovirus infection. F1000Research, 7. p. 280. ISSN 2046-1402 DOI:

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Although several factors are known to increase the risk of tuberculosis, the occurrence of tuberculosis disease in an infected individual is difficult to predict. We hypothesize that active human cytomegalovirus infection due to recent infection, reinfection or reactivation plays an epidemiologically relevant role in the aetiology of tuberculosis by precipitating the progression from latent tuberculosis infection to disease. The most compelling support for this hypothesis comes from the striking similarity in age-sex distribution between the two infections, important because the age-sex pattern of tuberculosis disease progression has not been convincingly explained. Cytomegalovirus infection and tuberculosis have other overlapping risk factors, including poor socio-economic status, sexual contact, whole blood transfusion and solid organ transplantation. Although each of these overlaps could be explained by shared underlying risk factors, none of the epidemiological observations refute the hypothesis. If this interaction would play an epidemiologically important role, important opportunities would arise for novel approaches to controlling tuberculosis.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Immunology and Infection
Research Centre: TB Centre
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PubMed ID: 29780582


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