Polyoma viruses belong to the polyomaviridae family. These viruses are DNA-based small virus which can cause tumors. The polyoma virus is said to have got its name from the Greek roots where poly means many and oma means tumors.
There are 5 types of polyoma virus, namely the JC virus, BK virus, KI virus, WU virus and Merkel cell polyomavirus. Out of these 5, the BK virus is known to create mild respiratory infection and maybe more prevalent among transplant patients. It is known to be associated with kidney, brain, liver, eye and lung disease.
There are various studies that are being conducted to establish the relation of Polyoma virus and the liver and kidney transplant patients. In one particular study, 118 patients were observed for BKV (BK virus) viruria and BKV viremia, which are different types of polyoma virus. Out of the 5 liver transplant patients who had BKV viruria, one patient was found to have BKV viremia also. A conclusion is yet to be established from these studies as they may be complete only after a 2 year follow up of the patient. This follow up needs to be done to check the relation between the BKV virus and changes in renal function, if any, and loss of the transplanted organ. However, it is believed that BKV is more particularly associated with renal transplant patients, than the liver transplant and can cause a graft failure in 2 to 5 percent of these patients.
Proper diagnosis of BKV associated problems is very important so that timely and correct treatment can be given.
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