Epidemiology and Infection

Prevalence of Eperythrozoon spp. infection and congenital eperythrozoonosis in humans in Inner Mongolia, China

a1 The First Teaching Hospital, Inner Mongolia Medical College, Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, The People's Republic of China
a2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Liver Studies, Guy's King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, Bessemer Road, London SE5 9PJ, UK


Eperythrozoon is an obligate parasitic bacteria found in many species of animals. A large scale investigation of the prevalence of Eperythrozoon spp. in humans, was conducted in a developing country using light, electron microscope and animal inoculation. Samples were collected in undeveloped areas of Inner Mongolia in China over a 2-year period of 1994–6. Of the 1529 investigated samples, 35·3% were found to be Eperythrozoon spp. positive. The prevalence of infection was associated with occupation and seasonal variations. The infections were mainly mild, in 89·6% of cases (excluding pregnant women and their children). Of 74 pregnant women tested in the areas of high prevalence, 44 were confirmed Eperythrozoon spp. positive. Similarly, eperythrozoa were found in all 44 umbilical cords tested and in the neonatal peripheral blood samples taken at birth. These data suggest that eperythrozoa can be transmitted via the placenta.

(Accepted July 6 2000)

c1 Author for correspondence.