Respiratory syncytial virus infection in immunocompromised adults

J. A. Englund, C. J. Sullivan, M. C. Jordan, L. P. Dehner, G. M. Vercellotti, H. H. Balfour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus disease was documented in 11 immunocompromised adults, aged 21 to 50. Underlying conditions included bone marrow transplant (6 patients), renal transplant (3 patients), renal and pancreas transplant (1 patient), and T-cell lymphoma (1 patient). Diagnosis of infection was based on specimens from bronchoalveolar lavage, sputum, throat, sinus aspirate, and lung biopsy. The virus was detected simultaneously by antibody in either an immunofluorescence or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 3 of 4 patients whose culture results were positive for respiratory syncytial virus. The virus was an unexpected finding, despite widespread infection in the community. Clinical symptoms included low-grade fever, nonproductive cough, rhinorrhea or nasal congestion, and radiographic evidence of intestitial infiltrates and sinusitis. Aerosilized ribavirin therapy was used in the 6 recipients of bone marrow transplants, 3 of whom required assisted ventilation but died. Death caused by virus infection was documented in 4 of 11 patients. Respiratory syncytial virus disease must be considered in the differential diagnosis of fever and pulmonary infiltrates in immunocompromised adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988


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