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Polyomavirus

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Key Points

  • Polyomavirus
    • Characteristics
      • DNA virus
        • Replicates in nucleus
        • Double-stranded
      • No envelope
      • Circular chromosome
    • Transmission
      • Not well understood
        • Oral or respiratory transmission is thought to be the main mode
    • Presentation
      • Causes disease in immunocompromised patients
        • e.g. HIV/AIDS, lymphoma, leukemia, etc.
      • JC virus (John Cunningham)
        • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)
          • Demyelinating disease
            • Presents with focal neurological deficits, dementia, visual defects
            • Preferentially affects oligodendrocytes
      • BK virus
        • Seen in transplant patients
          • e.g. kidney transplant, or hematopoietic stem cell transplant
        • Kidney injury
          • Nephropathy, ureteral stenosis, or hemorrhagic cystitis 
          • Elevated creatinine is seen
    • Diagnosis
      • PCR is used
      • Biopsy may show intranuclear inclusion bodies in infected tissue
    • Treatment
      • Supportive care; PML is often fatal
      • Antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV/AIDS