Seroepidemiology of TORCH Infections among 1.7 Million Women of Childbearing Age in Rural China: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study

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  • 1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China;
  • | 2 Chairman Office, Chinese Association of Maternal and Child Health Studies, Beijing, China;
  • | 3 Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, China Medical University, Shenyang, China;
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Capital Medical University Affiliated Beijing Shijitan Hospital, Beijing, China;
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Peking University Ninth School of Clinical Medicine, Beijing, China;
  • | 6 Beijing Key Laboratory of Urinary Cellular Molecular Diagnostics, Beijing, China

We conducted a national seroepidemiological study of the TORCH (Toxoplasma gondii [TOX], Rubella [RV], Cytomegalovirus [CMV], and Herpes Simplex Virus) in rural women to provided updated baseline data on TORCH prevalence. A total of 1,541,329 women of childbearing age were gathered from 2010 to 2012 in China. Of these, 858,072 women were tested positive for anti-RV IgG antibodies, 602,251 women were tested positive for anti-CMV antibodies, and 40,055 women were tested positive for anti-TOX antibodies. TORCH prevalence was highest among young adults (aged 25–34 years; P < 0.0001). A total of 69,220 women (4.49%) had received RV vaccination, of whom 49,988 (72.2%) had vaccine-acquired immunity. Of 1,541,329 women, 6,107 (0.40%) tested positive for anti-TOX IgM antibodies and 6,646 (0.43%) tested positive for anti-CMV IgM antibodies, suggesting the presence of TOX and CMV infections. TORCH markers were all more prevalent in the eastern region of China than in the central or western regions (all P < 0.0001). Prevalence rates related to all recent infection markers of TOX and CMV increased with increasing age in all regions (P < 0.0001). TORCH prevalence rates were found to be lower than previously published rates. This may be attributed to improvements in living standards and health habits in China. However, considering that the decrease in prevalence has led to an increase in the number of susceptible people, and the partial immunity caused by some pathogenic infections still leave infected people at risk of reinfection, strengthened vaccination and health education is essential to improve the quality of life of the Chinese population.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Man Zhang, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Beijing Shijitan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China. E-mail: zhangman@bjsjth.cn

Financial support: This work was supported by the Chinese Association of Maternal and Child Health Studies [AMCHS-2014-4] and Guangzhou Industrial Technology Major Research Project [201902010003].

Authors’ addresses: Xiaosong Qin, Guixue Cheng, and Yong Liu, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China, E-mails: qinxs@sj-hospital.org, chengguixue03@163.com, and liuy@sj-hospital.org. Shikun Zhang, Chairman Office, Chinese Association of Maternal and Child Health Studies, Beijing, China, E-mail: zhangshikunbj@163.com. Hongbo Liu, Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, China Medical University, Shenyang, China, E-mail: liuhbabc@163.com. Mei Hu, Na Liu, and Man Zhang, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Capital Medical University Affiliated Beijing Shijitan Hospital, Beijing, China, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Peking University Ninth School of Clinical Medicine, Beijing, China, and Beijing Key Laboratory of Urinary Cellular Molecular Diagnostics, Beijing, China, E-mails: 54214993@qq.com, 578980787@qq.com, and zhangman@bjsjth.cn.

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