Open Access Research article

Population-based type-specific prevalence of high-risk human papillomavirus infection in Estonia

Anneli Uusküla1*, Mart Kals1, Liina Kosenkranius2, Louise-Anne McNutt3 and Jack DeHovitz J4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

2 Quattromed HTI Laboratories Ltd, Tartu, Estonia

3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, State University of New York, Albany, USA

4 Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, USA

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:63  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-63

Published: 11 March 2010



Effective prophylactic vaccines are available against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 which are licensed for routine use among young women. Monitoring is needed to demonstrate protection against cervical cancer, to verify duration of protection, and assess replacement frequency of non-vaccine types among vaccinated cohorts.


Data from a population-based study were used to assess the type-specific prevalence of HPV in a non-vaccinated population in Estonia: 845 self-administered surveys and self-collected vaginal swabs were distributed, 346 were collected by mail and tested for HPV DNA from female participants 18-35 years of age.


The overall HPV prevalence (weighted estimate to account for the sampling method) in the study population (unvaccinated women aged 18-35) was calculated to be 38% (95% CI 31-45%), with estimated prevalences of high- and low-risk HPV types 21% (95% CI 16-26%), and 10% (95% CI 7-14%), respectively. Of the high-risk HPV types, HPV 16 was detected most frequently (6.4%; 95% CI 4.0-9.8%) followed by HPV 53 (4.3%; 95% CI 2.3-7.2%) and HPV 66 (2.8%; 95% CI 1.3-5.2%).


We observed a high prevalence of total and high-risk type HPV in an Eastern European country. The most common high-risk HPV types detected were HPV 16, 53, and 66.