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J Med Virol. 1982;10(2):91-9.

The role of BK virus in acute respiratory tract disease and the presence of BKV DNA in tonsils.


The significance of BKV infections relative to infections by generally tested respiratory agents was investigated in children with acute respiratory disease. Paired sera from 177 children admitted to a hospital for acute respiratory disease were tested for significant rises in antibodies. Sera from seven patients showed a seroconversion to BKV and clinical signs of acute upper respiratory tract infection were exhibited by each of these patients. BKV infections were present in 8% of the patients with upper respiratory tract disease while seroconversions to adenovirus (2%), influenza A virus (1%), parainfluenza virus (5%), RS virus (6%) and mycoplasma pneumoniae (1%) were observed in 15% of the patients with upper respiratory tract disease. BKV was isolated from the urine of one child with tonsillitis with a concomitant seroconversion to BKV. Tonsils from children with recurrent attacks of acute respiratory disease were tested for the presence of BKV DNA by hybridization with a cloned genomic 32P-labeled DNA of prototype BKV. Five of twelve tonsil DNAs showed hybridization with BKV DNA. Each tonsil showing hybridization with BKV DNA contained multiple nonintegrated copies of the BKV genome per diploid amount of host cell DNA. Attempts to recover infective BKV by transfection of primary human embryonic cells with tonsil DNAs or by co-cultivation of tonsillar cells with primary human embryonic cells were unsuccessful.

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