The Journal of infection | 15 Oct 2013
M Pinto and S Dobson
Polyomaviruses are ubiquitous, species-specific viruses belonging to the family Papovaviridae. The two most commonly known human polyomaviruses, BK virus and JC virus were first described in the 1970s. Newer human polyomaviruses, namely KI polyoma virus, WU polyoma virus and Merkel cell polyoma virus were identified in the last five years. Most humans encounter BK and JC virus during childhood, causing mild illness. However, when reactivated or acquired in the immunocompromised host, BK and JC virus have been implicated in a number of human clinical disease states. BK is most commonly associated with renal involvement, such as ureteral stenosis, hemorrhagic cystitis and nephropathy. Less commonly, it is associated with pneumonitis, retinitis, liver disease and meningoencephalitis. JC virus is most well known for its association with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, and is possibly implicated in the development of various human neoplasms. The following chapter will outline the basic virology, epidemiology and clinical manifestations of BK and JC virus and discuss relevant diagnostic and treatment options.
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