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Transpl Int. 2012 May;25(5):493-502. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2012.01443.x. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Human herpesvirus-6 infections in kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplantation: review.

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Department of Virology, Helsinki University Hospital, and Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland.


Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6), which comprises of HHV-6A and HHV-6B, is a common infection after solid organ transplantation. The rate of HHV-6 reactivation is high, although clinical disease is not common. Only 1% of transplant recipients will develop clinical illness associated with HHV-6 infection, and most are ascribable to HHV-6B. Fever, myelosuppression, and end-organ disease, including hepatitis and encephalitis, have been reported. HHV-6 has also been associated with various indirect effects, including a higher rate of CMV disease, acute and chronic graft rejection, and opportunistic infection such as invasive fungal disease. All-cause mortality is increased in solid organ transplant recipients with HHV-6 infection. HHV-6 is somewhat unique among human viruses because of its ability to integrate into the host chromosome. The clinical significance of chromosomally integrated HHV-6 is not yet defined, although a higher rate of bacterial infection and allograft rejection has been suggested. The diagnosis of HHV-6 is now commonly made using nucleic acid testing for HHV-6 DNA in clinical samples, but this can be difficult to interpret owing to the common nature of asymptomatic viral reactivation. Treatment of HHV-6 is indicated in established end-organ disease such as encephalitis. Foscarnet, ganciclovir, and cidofovir have been used for treatment.

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