Frequent detection of polyomaviruses in stool samples from hospitalized children

J Infect Dis. 2005 Aug 15;192(4):658-64. doi: 10.1086/432076. Epub 2005 Jul 12.


Infection with BK virus (BKV) generally occurs early during life, but its mode of transmission has not been clearly defined. We tested the hypothesis that polyomavirus shedding in stool may be a source of BKV exposure.METHODS. Pediatric stool and rectal swab samples were tested for the presence of polyomavirus DNA by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay that could detect a conserved region in the large T antigen gene of BKV, JC virus (JCV), and simian virus 40 (SV40). The specific viruses detected by this assay were confirmed by DNA sequence analysis of the PCR amplicons.Results. Of 120 samples collected from 99 patients, 54 (45.0%) were positive for polyomavirus DNA. Of the 99 patients, 46 (46.5%) had at least 1 positive sample, with 38 (38.4%) positive for BKV and 8 (8.1%) positive for SV40. JCV was not detected. There was no association between polyomavirus fecal shedding and age, sex, race/ethnicity, immune status, or symptoms of gastrointestinal disease in the children studied. The BKV strains detected displayed polymorphisms in the T antigen sequence.Conclusions. Polyomaviruses are frequently present in stool samples from hospitalized children. These findings suggest that fecal-oral transmission of BKV may play a role in the ubiquity of infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • BK Virus*
  • Base Sequence
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / virology*
  • Female
  • Genes, Viral
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Polyomavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Simian virus 40*
  • Tumor Virus Infections / epidemiology*