Transplant-Associated Viral Infections

Solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients are uniquely predisposed to develop clinical illness, often with increased severity, due to a variety of common and opportunistic viruses. Patients may acquire viral infections from the donor (donor-derived infections), from reactivation of endogenous latent virus, or from the community. Herpes viruses, most notably cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus, are the most common among opportunistic viral pathogens that cause infection after solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The polyoma BK virus causes opportunistic clinical syndromes predominantly in kidney and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the treatment of choice for many hematologic malignancies and genetic diseases. However, viral infections continue to account for substantial post-transplant morbidity and mortality. While antiviral drugs are available against some viruses, they are associated with significant side effects and are frequently ineffective.

 

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