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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2000 Apr;45 Suppl T3:29-34.

Betaherpesviruses in transplant recipients.

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Department of Virology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, UK.


The three betaherpesviruses known to infect humans are cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human herpesviruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and -7). All three viruses can infect opportunistically after organ transplantation. CMV causes a variety of end-organ diseases, including pneumonitis, hepatitis and gastrointestinal ulceration. Patients who develop overt CMV disease have significantly higher CMV viral loads than infected patients without evidence of clinical disease. A high CMV viral load largely explains the previously described risk factors for the development of CMV disease, which include donor/recipient serostatus before transplant and viraemia after transplant. CMV also causes some cases of allograft rejection, which can be prevented by antiviral prophylaxis. Application of similar quantitative methods for the study of HHV-6 and -7 have shown that HHV-6 and CMV are significantly and independently associated with biopsy-proven graft rejection after liver transplantation. The full clinicopathological significance of the betaherpesviruses may, thus, be greater than is currently appreciated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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