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Transplantation. 2001 Jan 27;71(2):288-92.

Fatal primary infection due to human herpesvirus 6 variant A in a renal transplant recipient.

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  • 1Infectious Diseases Clinic, Department of Nephrology, Erasme Hospital, Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


We describe a fatal primary human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) variant A infection in a kidney transplanted adult woman. On day 20 post transplantation (TX), after rejection therapy, the patient presented an acute hemophagocytic syndrome with hepatitis and central nervous system involvement. HHV-6 IgG and IgM antibodies seroconversion was demonstrated. HHV-6 variant A was the sole pathogen detected by nested PCR and/or culture in blood, bone marrow aspiration, liver biopsy, cerebrospinal fluid and bronchoalveolar lavage. The graft was HHV-6 seropositive and the patient was not transfused before day 28 post TX, suggesting that the virus was transmitted by the graft. Despite immunoglobulins, ganciclovir and foscarnet therapy, the HHV-6 infection progressed and led to severe aplasia. The patient developed Aspergillus fumigatus pneumonia and died from fulminant candidemia. This case demonstrated for the first time that HHV-6 variant A primary infection can cause life-threatening disseminated infection in immunosuppressed patients.

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