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Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Nov;53(9):897-909. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir610. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Severe viral infections and primary immunodeficiencies.

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Medical Virology Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Patients with severe viral infections are often not thoroughly evaluated for immunodeficiencies. In this review, we summarize primary immunodeficiencies that predispose individuals to severe viral infections. Some immunodeficiencies enhance susceptibility to disease with a specific virus or family of viruses, whereas others predispose to diseases with multiple viruses in addition to disease with other microbes. Although the role of cytotoxic T cells in controlling viral infections is well known, a number of immunodeficiencies that predispose to severe viral diseases have recently been ascribed to defects in the Toll-like receptor-interferon signaling pathway. These immunodeficiencies are rare, but it is important to identify them both for prognostic information and for genetic counseling. Undoubtedly, additional mutations in proteins in the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system will be identified in the future, which will reveal the importance of these proteins in controlling infections caused by viruses and other pathogens.

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