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N Engl J Med. 1975 Nov 27;293(22):1109-12.

The transplanted kidney as a source of cytomegalovirus infection.


To determine the incidence of cytomegalovirus infection in renal-transplant recipients we followed 32 prospectively for six months after operation. As judged by serologic change and virus isolation the infection rate for the entire group was 66 per cent (21 of 32 patients) - 59 per cent (13 of 22) for seronegative patients and 80 per cent (eight of 10) for seropositive patients. Of 10 seronegative patients who received kidneys from seronegative donors, only three became infected. However, of 12 seronegative patients who received kidneys from seropositive donors, 10 became infected. Thus, there was a significant correlation between development of infection and seropositivity of the donor (P = 0.03), particularly when the recipient was seronegative (P = 0.02). Five possible and four definite recognizable clinical illnesses were associated with cytomegalovirus infection; all except two were in initially seronegative subjects who received kidneys from seropositive donors. Primary infection and disease in nonimmune recipients may be caused by cytomegalovirus transmitted by the kidneys of latently infected seropositive donors.

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