We present a review of the clinically oriented literature about BK virus, a relative of JC virus, which is the etiologic agent of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The kidney, lung, eye, liver, and brain have been proposed as sites of BK virus-associated disease, both primary and reactivated. BK virus has also been detected in tissue specimens from a variety of neoplasms. We believe that BK virus is most often permissively present in sites of disease in immunosuppressed patients, rather than being an etiologic agent that causes symptoms or pathologic findings. There is, however, strong evidence for BK virus-associated hemorrhagic cystitis and nephritis, especially in recipients of solid organ or bone marrow transplants. Now that BK virus can be identified by use of specific and sensitive techniques, careful evaluation of the clinical and pathologic presentations of patients with BK virus will allow us to form a clearer picture of viral-associated pathophysiology in many organ systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2001


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