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Postexposure prophylaxis against varicella zoster virus infection among hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.

Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (Impact Factor: 3.35). 11/2006; 12(10):1096-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2006.06.005
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Viral infections are important causes of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic stem cell hematopoietic transplantation (allo-HSCT). Although most viral infections present with asymptomatic or subclinical manifestations, viruses may result in fatal complications in severe immunocompromised recipients. Reactivation of latent viruses, such as herpesviruses, is frequent during the immunosuppression that occurs with allo-HSCT. Viruses acquired from community, such as the respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses, are also important pathogens of post-transplant viral diseases. Currently, molecular diagnostic methods have replaced or supplemented traditional methods, such as viral culture and antigen detection, in diagnosis of viral infections. The utilization of polymerase chain reaction facilitates the early diagnosis. In view of lacking efficacious agents for treatment of viral diseases, prevention of viral infections is extremely valuable. Application of prophylactic strategies including preemptive therapy reduces viral infections and diseases. Adoptive cellular therapy for restoring virus-specific immunity is a promising method in the treatment of viral diseases.
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    ABSTRACT: Varicella can have a severe course in immunosuppressed patients. Although prevention is fundamental, live-attenuated varicella-zoster (VZV) vaccine is not currently recommended in transplant recipients. Our aims were to (1) evaluate VZV immunity in pediatric liver transplant (LT) recipients; (2) immunize (two doses) seronegative patients post-LT; (3) monitor vaccine safety, (4) assess B and T cell vaccine responses. All patients followed at the Swiss National Pediatric LT Center were approached and 77/79 (97.5%) were enrolled (median age 7.8 years). Vaccine safety was monitored by standardized diary cards and phone calls. VZV-specific serology and CD4(+) T cells were assessed before and after immunization. Thirty-nine patients (51.1%) were seronegative including 14 children immunized pre-LT. Thirty-six of 39 seronegative patients were immunized post-LT (median 3.0 years post LT). Local (54.8%) and systemic (64.5%) reactions were mild and transient. The frequency of VZV-specific CD4(+) T cells and antibody titers increased significantly (respectively from 0.085% to 0.16%, p = 0.04 and 21.0 to 1134.5 IU/L, p < 0.001). All children reached seroprotective titers and 31/32 (97%) patients assessed remained seroprotected at follow-up (median 1.7 years). No breakthrough disease was reported during follow-up (median 4.1 years). Thereby, VZV vaccine appears to be safe, immunogenic and provide protection against disease in pediatric LT patients.
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