First description of Merkel Cell polyomavirus DNA detection in a patient with Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
Institute for Maternal and Child Health, IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
Merkel Cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), a ubiquitous DNA tumor virus, has been found to be associated with Merkel cell carcinoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia while other associations are still being explored. MCPyV sequences have also been detected in normal tissues of tumor patients and in the blood of healthy donors. This report documents a new MCPyV association with the Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare immune-modulated mucocutaneous process particularly associated with specific drugs and infective agents. A high MCPyV viral load was detected simultaneously in fluid from skin lesions (2.0 × 10(4) copies/ml) and in matched blood (7.4 × 10(5) copies/ml) from a young adult patient after bone marrow transplant for a relapsed T-cell acute lymphatic leukaemia. MCPyV clearance concurred with the complete resolution of skin lesions after 5 days of cidofovir treatment. DNA sequencing classified the amplicons as the European/Italian MKL-1 strain. Given its ubiquitous nature, MCPyV could account for part of Stevens-Johnson syndrome idiopathic cases. J. Med. Virol. 85:918-923, 2013.