CMV, EBV, JCV and BKV infection and outcome following kidney transplantation in children initiated on a corticosteroid-minimisation immunosuppressive regimen



Modern immunosuppressive regimens in paediatric kidney transplant recipients have contributed to improved long-term allograft survival, but at the expense of an increased incidence of viral infections. Here, we describe, for the first time, the incidence, risk factors and clinical outcome of CMV, EBV, BKV and JCV viraemia in a cohort of paediatric allograft recipients treated with a corticosteroid-minimisation immunosuppressive regimen (CMR).


We retrospectively analysed 98 children treated with a CMR (basiliximab induction, corticosteroids until day 4, long-term tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil), who received a kidney transplant in our centre between 2009 and 2019.


Over the first 4 years post-transplant, the incidences of viraemia were as follows: CMV, 25.5%; EBV, 52.0%; JCV, 16.3%; BKV, 26.5%. Younger children at time of transplant were more likely to develop EBV and BKV viraemia. EBV viraemia was also associated with a regimen involving corticosteroids, but lacking MMF. Recipient CMV serology predicted the development of EBV, BKV and CMV viraemia. Fifty-six percent of CMV viraemia episodes in high-risk patients occurred whilst the graft recipients were still receiving anti-viral prophylaxis or within 3 months of cessation. There was no difference in graft function at latest follow-up between those with and without viraemia.


Judicious monitoring of viraemia, coupled with timely clinical intervention, can result in similar long-term outcomes for graft recipients compared to controls. The high incidence of CMV viraemia observed within a short period of cessation of anti-viral prophylaxis supports an extension of the length of prophylactic treatment in high-risk allograft recipients.

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We thank Prof. Rachel Lennon and Dr. Nick Plant for their advice during the preparation of this manuscript.


The study was supported by a Jean Shanks/Pathological Society Clinical Lecturer Grant (Grant reference: JSPS CLG 2019 02) (awarded to JM).

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JM and MS designed the study. JM and VB analysed data. All authors contributed to the preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mohan Shenoy.

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McCaffrey, J., Bhute, V.J. & Shenoy, M. CMV, EBV, JCV and BKV infection and outcome following kidney transplantation in children initiated on a corticosteroid-minimisation immunosuppressive regimen. Pediatr Nephrol (2021).

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  • CMV viraemia
  • JCV viraemia
  • EBV viraemia
  • BKV viraemia
  • Paediatric kidney transplantation
  • Immunosuppression