Uveitis is predominantly of infectious origin in a high HIV and TB prevalence setting in rural South Africa

Erik Schaftenaar, Christina Meenken, G Seerp Baarsma, N Sellina Khosa, Ad Luijendijk, James A McIntyre, Albert D M E Osterhaus, Georges M G M Verjans, Remco P H Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


AIMS: To determine the burden of disease in a unique sample of patients with uveitis from a rural South African setting.

METHODS: Data in this cross-sectional study were collected from patients presenting with uveitis (n=103) at the ophthalmology outpatient department of three hospitals in rural South Africa. Demographic and clinical data were collected, and laboratory analysis of aqueous humour, serological evaluation and routine diagnostics for tuberculosis (TB) were performed.

RESULTS: Sixty-six (64%) participants were HIV infected. Uveitis was predominantly of infectious origin (72%) followed by idiopathic (16%) and autoimmune (12%). Infectious uveitis was attributed to herpes virus (51%), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (24%) and Treponema pallidum (7%) infection. HIV-infected individuals were more likely to have infectious aetiology of uveitis compared with HIV-uninfected individuals (83% vs 51%; p=0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Microbial aetiology of uveitis is common in areas where HIV and TB are endemic. In these settings, a high index of suspicion for infectious origin of uveitis is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-6
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Infections, Bacterial/epidemiology
  • Eye Infections, Viral
  • Female
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rural Population
  • South Africa/epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis/epidemiology
  • Uveitis/epidemiology
  • Young Adult


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