Persistent and fatal central-nervous-system ECHOvirus infections in patients with agammaglobulinemia

C M Wilfert, R H Buckley, T Mohanakumar, J F Griffith, S L Katz, J K Whisnant, P A Eggleston, M Moore, E Treadwell, M N Oxman, F S Rosen
New England Journal of Medicine 1977 June 30, 296 (26): 1485-9
We observed persistent ECHOvirus infection of the central nervous system, as defined by continued presence of isolatable virus in cerebrospinal fluid, in five patients with agammaglobulinemia. The immunologic deficit in each was characterized by absence of surface-immunoglobulin-bearing B lymphocytes and of lymph-node cortical follicles, but normal T-cell function. ECHOviruses 30, 19, 9 and 33 were recovered from cerebrospinal fluid for periods varying from two months to three years. The patients had few signs of acute central-nervous-system infection. Three of the five patients had a dermatomyositis-like syndrome, with peripheral lymphocytes that reacted with anti-human leukemia-specific primate and rabbit serums in a cytotoxicity assay. These data suggest that intact B-cell function is essential for eradication of ECHOvirus infection of the central nervous system.

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