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J Neurovirol. 1998 Oct;4(5):539-44.

Prevalence of JC virus viraemia in HIV-infected patients with or without neurological disorders: a prospective study.

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Department of Virology, PELLEGRIN Hospital, Bordeaux, France.


Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a severe demyelinating disease, which is rapidly fatal and is due to JC virus (JCV) infection, which especially occurs in HIV-infected patients. To investigate JCV pathophysiology and to evaluate the predictive value of JCV detection in blood, we looked for JCV DNA in leukocytes and plasma of 96 patients without any neurological symptoms and 109 patients with neurological diseases, among whom 19 were suffering from PML. JCV genome was detected in about 18% of all patients, i.e. 15.6% of patients with central nervous system disorders except PML, 13.5% of patients without neurological symptoms and significantly more often in PML patients (47.6%). Both leukocytes and plasma were tested; in plasma, JCV DNA was found in 36.1% of positive patients and in cells in 80.5%. Surprisingly in seven instances only the plasma contained JCV genome. One-year follow-up of these patients showed that the absence of JCV DNA in blood was associated with a very low probability of developing PML (negative predictive value=0.99).

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