The Excess Burden of Cytomegalovirus in African American Communities: A Geospatial Analysis.

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Background.  Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common cause of birth defects and hearing loss in infants and opportunistic infections in the immunocompromised. Previous studies have found higher CMV seroprevalence rates among minorities and among persons with lower socioeconomic status. No studies have investigated the geographic distribution of CMV and its relationship to age, race, and poverty in the community. Methods.  We identified patients from 6 North Carolina counties who were tested in the Duke University Health System for CMV immunoglobulin G. We performed spatial statistical analyses to analyze the distributions of seropositive and seronegative individuals. Results.  Of 1884 subjects, 90% were either white or African American. Cytomegalovirus seropositivity was significantly more common among African Americans (73% vs 42%; odds ratio, 3.31; 95% confidence interval, 2.7-4.1), and this disparity persisted across the life span. We identified clusters of high and low CMV odds, both of which were largely explained by race. Clusters of high CMV odds were found in communities with high proportions of African Americans. Conclusions.  Cytomegalovirus seropositivity is geographically clustered, and its distribution is strongly determined by a community's racial composition. African American communities have high prevalence rates of CMV infection, and there may be a disparate burden of CMV-associated morbidity in these communities.





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Lantos, Paul M, Sallie R Permar, Kate Hoffman and Geeta K Swamy (2015). The Excess Burden of Cytomegalovirus in African American Communities: A Geospatial Analysis. Open Forum Infect Dis, 2(4). p. ofv180. 10.1093/ofid/ofv180 Retrieved from

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Paul Michael Lantos

Professor of Medicine

I am interested in the spatial epidemiology of infectious diseases. My research utilizes geographic information systems (GIS) and geostatistical analyses to understand the spatial and spatiotemporal distribution of diseases, and their relationship with environmental and demographic factors. I currently have active studies evaluating the spatial distribution of numerous domestic and international infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), cytomegalovirus, influenza, and Lyme disease. Additionally I am interested in maternal-child health, and I have a number of ongoing studies of neighborhood health disparities in obstetrical care and birth outcomes. I am interested in GIS education and have conducted workshops on public health GIS in Mongolia and China.


Sallie Robey Permar

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pathology

Dr. Permar's work focuses on the development of vaccines to prevent vertical transmission of neonatal viral pathogens. She has utilized the nonhuman primate model of HIV/AIDS to characterize the virus-specific immune responses and virus evolution in breast milk and develop a maternal vaccine regimen for protection against breast milk transmission of HIV. In addition, Dr. Permar's lab has advanced the understanding of HIV-specific immune responses and virus evolution in vertically-transmitting and nontransmitting HIV-infected women, defining maternal immune responses that may protect against neonatal transmission of HIV. Importantly, Dr. Permar has established a nonhuman primate model of congenital CMV infection adn is using this model to establish the maternal immune responses that are necessary for protection against placental virus transmission. Finally, Dr. Permar is studying the impact and prevention of postnatal CMV transmission in preterm infants.


Kate Hoffman

Associate Research Professor in The Division of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Geeta Krishna Swamy

Haywood Brown, MD Distinguished Professor of Women's Health

Dr. Geeta Swamy, MD, is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, having served as the director of the Duke Perinatal Research Center and Vice Chair for Research and Faculty Development in the Department of ObGyn. She has achieved international acclaim as a clinician researcher and expert in the field of maternal immunization and perinatal infection. As a consultant to the World Health Organization, Dr. Swamy contributes her knowledge to advance international work to evaluate the immunogenicity, safety, and efficacy of vaccines in pregnant women. The American College of ObGyn has grown to be the “collective voice” for women’s health, and Dr. Swamy has been a leader within that organization for the last two decades. She currently serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for the NIH-NIAID Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation (VTEU) and CDC Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment. In addition, she has been a leader at Duke and nationally in promoting a culture of scientific integrity and transparency in research. She has been instrumental in developing and leading the School of Medicine’s research initiatives in administration, regulatory oversight, and compliance. In 2018, she became Vice Dean for Scientific Integrity in the School of Medicine and Associate Vice President for Research for Duke University. In these roles she oversees the Duke Office of Scientific Integrity (DOSI) which houses the Advancing Scientific Integrity, Services, & Training (ASIST) initiative, conflict of interest, clinical quality management, incident response in research, and research misconduct. She also oversees the Duke Office of Research Initiatives, the Duke Health IRB, Office of Research Administration (ORA), and Office of Research Contracts (ORC). 

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