Transplant patients are particularly susceptible to viral infections as they are given medication to suppress their immune system in order to prevent rejection. Several professional associations have now developed a guideline for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of viral infections in organ and stem cell transplant patients, which gives recommendations to doctors who work in hospital and outpatient care. Scientists from the DZIF were also involved.
“Transplant patients are not only susceptible to viral infections, they are also particularly at risk because these infections are often more severe or life-threatening for them,” explains Prof. Uta Behrends from the TU Munich. The paediatrician has also been researching Epstein Barr viruses at the DZIF for many years. These pose a major risk for this group of patients. She was involved in developing the guideline and is convinced that many will benefit from the recommendations. The guideline states that a screening before transplantation and risk-adapted monitoring of patients after the procedure is necessary and wise. Based on these diagnostics, doctors can take specific measures to prevent or treat an illness.
For the guideline, recommendations were developed on methodology, frequency and scope of virological diagnostics as well as medicinal and immune cell treatment of virus infections based on current scientific findings. The guideline contains chapters on frequent pathogens that are particularly risky for transplant patients: Herpes simplex-virus 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6, parvovirus B19, Bk polyomavirus as well as adenoviruses and respiratory viruses. The recommendations were summarised in comprehensive virus tables in collaboration with virological and clinical experts.
The complete guideline can be found on the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF) website: