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January 1996

BK Virus Encephalitis in an Immunocompetent Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Voltz, Fuhry, and Hohlfeld) and Diagnostic Radiology (Dr Seelos), Klinikum Grosshadern, and the Max von Pettenkofer Institute, (Dr Jäger), Munich, Germany; and the Department of Neuroimmunology, Max Planck Institute (Drs Voltz and Hohlfeld), Martinsried, Germany.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(1):101-103. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550010121025

Objectives:  To describe a previously healthy patient now suffering from monophasic encephalitis caused by a primary infection with BK virus and to discuss possible risk factors for developing BK virus encephalitis.

Design:  Case report.

Setting:  Referral hospital.

Patient:  The patient was examined on referral.

Main Outcome Measures:  The main diagnostic tests performed were serology, polymerase chain reaction on cerebrospinal fluid samples, and cranial magnetic resonance imaging.

Results:  During the course of the patient's encephalitis, an IgM titer developed against polyomavirus, followed by anti—polyomavirus IgG. Wild-type BK virus was demonstrated in cerebrospinal fluid samples. Cranial magnetic resonance imaging showed diffuse reversible white matter changes most prominent on T2-weighted images.

Conclusion:  We conclude that diagnostic tests for BK, a human polyomavirus, should be included in the screening program for encephalitogenic pathogens.