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Virology. 2009 Feb 20;384(2):266-73. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.09.027. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

The role of polyomaviruses in human disease.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, 48109, USA.


The human polyomaviruses, BK virus and JC virus, have long been associated with serious diseases including polyomavirus nephropathy and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Both viruses establish ubiquitous, persistent infections in healthy individuals. Reactivation can occur when the immune system is impaired, leading to disease progression. Recently, the human polyomavirus family has expanded with the identification of three new viruses (KI, WU and Merkel cell polyomavirus), all of which may prove to be involved in human disease. This review describes the general aspects of human polyomavirus infections and pathogenicity. Current topics of investigation and future directions in the field are also discussed.

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