Forty nine infants of HIV seropositive women were followed up for a median of 24 months, together with 24 controls. The infection status of 11 index children under 18 months of age was indeterminate; 34 were presumed uninfected while four showed clinical and laboratory evidence of HIV disease. Based on current definitions of HIV infection and excluding children under 18 months old as well as those who had not been studied from birth, two out of 28 children were infected. The estimated rate of maternofetal transmission was therefore 7.1%. In children with proved infection, sequential laboratory data showed that hypergammaglobulinaemia was noted as early as 6 months and often predated clinical signs. This observation, in the presence of non-specific clinical findings, was helpful in alerting the paediatrician to a diagnosis of HIV infection.
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