Prevalence of Human Herpesvirus-6 Chromosomal Integration (CIHHV-6) in Italian Solid Organ and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Patients


* Corresponding Author: Mario Luppi,


The unique phenomenon of human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) chromosomal integration (CIHHV-6) may account for clinical drawbacks in transplant setting, being misinterpreted as active infection and leading to unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments. We have investigated the prevalence of CIHHV-6 in 205 consecutive solid organ (SO) and allogeneic stem cell transplant (alloSCT) Italian patients. Fifty-two (38.5%) of 135 solid organ transplant (SOT) and 16 (22.8%) of 70 alloSCT patients resulted positive for plasma HHV-6 DNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Seven SOT and three alloSCT patients presented HHV-6-related diseases, requiring antivirals. Two further patients (0.9%) were identified, presenting high HHV-6 loads. The quantification of HHV-6 on hair follicles disclosed the integrated state, allowing the discontinuation of antivirals. Before starting specific treatments, CIHHV-6 should be excluded in transplant patients with HHV-6 viremia by the comparison of HHV-6 loads on different fluids and tissues. Pretransplantation screening of donors and recipients may further prevent the misdiagnosis of CIHHV-6.