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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2000 Sep;26(6):639-44.

Human herpesvirus 6 is an important pathogen in infectious lung disease after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.

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Institute of Virology, University Hospital of Essen, Germany.


Two hundred and ten bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples were obtained from 50 patients 10 days before and on defined days after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The samples were examined for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Fifteen patients (30%) had a positive result for HCMV in at least one sample and 25 (50%) were positive for HHV-6 in at least one sample. Five patients developed HCMV-associated interstitial pneumonia (HCMV-IP) within 100 days after allogeneic BMT. Four of these patients were positive for both HCMV and HHV-6. Conspicuous HHV-6 positivity was detected in BAL samples obtained because of respiratory symptoms. No association was found between detection of HHV-6 and acute graft-versus-host disease. Engraftment failure or a delay in engraftment was observed in none of the 50 patients. The data from this study indicate that HHV-6 is a pathogen in HCMV-associated, as well as in non-HCMV-associated infectious lung disease after BMT.

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