Immunosuppressed patients are more susceptible to adenoviral infection and carry a significantly higher mortality than immunocompetent patients. Renal transplant patients with adenoviral infection most often present with infection of the kidney and urinary tract within weeks to months of transplant surgery, suggesting reactivation of the latent adenovirus in the immunosuppressed host as the source of infection. We describe the first case of a fatal adenovirus infection after several years of immunosuppression in a kidney transplant patient. Postmortem examination of several tissues, using standard viral culture and polymerase chain reaction, was positive for adenovirus serotype 21. This case is unusual in that the fatal disseminated viral infection occurred after 6 years of immunosuppression, suggesting that the source of adenovirus was a novel infection rather than reactivation of latent infection, or infection from the transplanted tissue. Furthermore, this is the first report of adenovirus type 21 in an immunosuppressed patient.
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