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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2000 May;25(9):969-73.

Disseminated toxoplasmosis following T cell-depleted related and unrelated bone marrow transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics (Bone Marrow Transplant Service),Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY 10021, USA.


More than 95% of reported cases of disseminated toxoplasmosis following BMT have occurred following an unmodified transplant. Most have been fatal, diagnosed at autopsy and without antemortem institution of specific therapy. From 1989 to 1999, we identified 10 cases of disseminated toxoplasmosis, in 463 consecutive recipients of a T cell-depleted (TCD) BMT. Transplants were from an unrelated donor (n = 5), an HLA-matched sibling (n = 4) or an HLA-mismatched father (n = 1). In 40%, both the donor and recipient had positive IgG titers against T. gondii pre-transplant; in 30%, only the recipient was sero-positive. Three recipients of an unrelated TCD BMT developed toxoplasmosis despite both donor and host testing negative pretransplant. All 10 patients presented with high grade fever. CNS involvement ultimately occurred in seven patients, with refractory respiratory failure and hypotension developing in nine. Eight of 10 cases were found only at autopsy, involving the lungs (n = 7), heart (n = 5), GI tract (n = 5), brain (n = 8), liver and/or spleen (n = 5). The only survivor, treated on the day of presentation with fever and headache, was diagnosed by detection of T. gondii DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) performed on the blood and spinal fluid. This study demonstrates the similar incidence of toxoplasmosis following TCD BMT and that reported post T cell-replete BMT, and underscores the need for rapid diagnostic tests in an effort to improve outcome.

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