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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 373579, 27 pages
Review Article

Human Polyomavirus Reactivation: Disease Pathogenesis and Treatment Approaches

1Department of Virology, Frimley Park Hospital, Frimley, Surrey GU16 7UJ, UK
2National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

Received 4 February 2013; Revised 27 March 2013; Accepted 27 March 2013

Academic Editor: Mario Clerici

Copyright © 2013 Cillian F. De Gascun and Michael J. Carr. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


JC and BK polyomaviruses were discovered over 40 years ago and have become increasingly prevalent causes of morbidity and mortality in a variety of distinct, immunocompromised patient cohorts. The recent discoveries of eight new members of the Polyomaviridae family that are capable of infecting humans suggest that there are more to be discovered and raise the possibility that they may play a more significant role in human disease than previously understood. In spite of this, there remains a dearth of specific therapeutic options for human polyomavirus infections and an incomplete understanding of the relationship between the virus and the host immune system. This review summarises the human polyomaviruses with particular emphasis on pathogenesis in those directly implicated in disease aetiology and the therapeutic options available for treatment in the immunocompromised host.