Fatal disseminated adenovirus infection in a young adult with systemic lupus erythematosus

J Clin Virol. 2011 Jan;50(1):80-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2010.09.021. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Background: The use of corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents increases the risk of infection in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The role of human adenoviruses (HAdV) in the etiology of acute viral diseases in these patients is not known.

Objectives: Describe a case of acute fatal disseminated adenovirus infection in an SLE patient receiving immunosuppressive therapy.

Study design: Case report and detailed viral diagnosis by real time PCR and molecular typing of virus isolates by sequencing of hexon and fiber genes and restriction enzyme analysis of viral DNA.

Results: HAdV was detected by real time PCR in multiple clinical specimens including respiratory, urine, plasma, synovial fluid, and cerebrospinal fluid. Amplification and sequence analysis of the hexon and fiber genes identified the virus as HAdV-7-like for both coding regions. Adenoviruses isolated from respiratory and urine specimens were identical and corresponded to genome type 7d2 by restriction enzyme analysis of viral DNA. The isolated strain encodes a unique fiber gene with a 6-nucleotide deletion corresponding to amino acid positions 250 and 251 in the knob region and not previously described for closely related genomic variants of HAdV-7.

Conclusions: Adenovirus detection should be included in the diagnostic testing to determine the infectious etiology of fever and/or respiratory symptoms in SLE patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Adenoviridae / physiology*
  • Adenoviridae Infections / complications*
  • Adenoviridae Infections / virology
  • Adult
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Young Adult


  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunosuppressive Agents