Intraoral human herpes viruses detectable by PCR in majority of patients

Tami Yap, Shuan Khor, Jung Seo Kim, Jaeyoung Kim, Sung Yun Kim, Johannes S. Kern, Raymond Martyres, George Varigos, Hiu Tat Chan, Michael J. McCullough, Melissa L. Thomas, Laura Scardamaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To identify factors which influence the intraoral prevalence of human herpes viruses (HHVs) using mucosal swabs, saliva samples and qPCR analysis. Methodology: In this cross-sectional observational study, matched saliva and oral swabs were collected from a total of 115 subjects: 70 immunocompetent subjects with no mucosal abnormalities, 22 with mucosal abnormalities and 23 therapeutically immunocompromised individuals. Extracted DNA was analysed by multiplex qPCR for detection and quantification of HHVs 1–6. Results: At least one human herpes virus was detected in 77.1% of immunocompetent individuals with no mucosal abnormalities, with EBV the most commonly detected at 61.4%. HHV-6 was detected in 17.1%, HSV-1 in 4.3% and CMV in 1.1%. Detection was higher in saliva than in oral swabs. There was no detection of HSV-2 or VZV. Neither presence of oral mucosal abnormality nor therapeutic immunocompromise was related to increased detection of human herpes virus. Conclusion: Commensal detection rates of EBV are high, and caution in clinical correlation of positive detection is warranted. Commensal CMV rates are low, and detection is likely to be clinically relevant. This study presents a comprehensive commensal detection rate of HHVs 1–6 by qPCR in saliva and swabs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-387
Number of pages10
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein–Barr virus
  • herpes
  • oral mucosal disease
  • saliva
  • virus

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