Polyomavirus shedding in the stool of healthy adults

J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Aug;47(8):2388-91. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02472-08. Epub 2009 Jun 3.


We recently reported the frequent detection of polyomaviruses (BK virus [BKV] or simian virus 40 [SV40]) in 46% of stool samples from hospitalized children. In order to determine if adults exhibit fecal shedding of polyomavirus, single stool specimens from healthy adults were evaluated by PCR. Overall, 20 (18.2%) of 110 specimens were positive for human polyomaviruses: 9 with BKV, 9 with JC virus (JCV), 1 with SV40, and 1 with both JCV and SV40. Among the 94 subjects without immune compromise, 17 (18.1%) were excreting polyomaviruses. This shedding frequency in adults was significantly lower than that observed in children (P < 0.001). These findings support the hypothesis that the gastrointestinal tract may be a site of polyomavirus persistence, and they suggest a fecal-oral route of viral transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carrier State / virology*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Feces / virology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / virology*
  • Prevalence
  • Virus Shedding*
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Viral