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J Infect Dis. 1995 Feb;171(2):273-80.

Detection of human herpesvirus 6 in plasma of children with primary infection and immunosuppressed patients by polymerase chain reaction.

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Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


A sensitive and specific polymerase chain reaction method for the detection of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) DNA in serum or plasma has been developed. In total, 157 human serum or plasma samples were studied. HHV-6 DNA was detected in 6 (85.7%) of 7 children with exanthem subitum, 3 (23.1%) of 13 bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients, 4 (22.2%) of 18 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients, 1 (2.6%) of 39 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and none of 37 healthy adults. In the HHV-6-positive BMT recipients, HHV-6 plasma DNA was transiently detected during episodes of fever and respiratory infection. In children with exanthem subitum and in 1 HIV-infected patient, the HHV-6 strains were characterized as variant B, whereas variant A was detected in all other patients. Detection of viral DNA in serum or plasma is a marker of active infection that can be used to investigate the role of HHV-6 in human disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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